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Monday, June 4, 2012

Last Time This Century

Never let it be said that not much happens in our lives as on June 6 we get to witness a LAST time event for this century . . .

Luckily, Granville and I will be able to view it locally (about 6:09 pm) at the NASA Visitor Center/Wallops Flight Facility which will provide safety viewing glasses and a presentation. The Visitor Center is on  near Chincoteague Island, VA about a 40-minute drive from the Frog & PenguINN. Let us know if you would like to come along !

The Transit of Venus is one of the rarest astronomical phenomena and it’s happening in the evening hours of Tuesday, June 5. Venus is the second planet from the Sun; we live on the third planet, Earth.

Like a solar eclipse, Venus will move across the face of the sun and block light from the sun to Earth. During the transit, the planet Venus passes directly between the sun and Earth, becoming visible against and obscuring a small portion of the sun. Venus will be seen from Earth as a (very) small black disk moving across the sun’s surface. Venus is much farther away from the earth and it appears smaller and travels more slowly across the face of the sun. Transits are usually measured in hours (2004’s was 6 hours).  This transit will take about 6-1/2 hrs  and it won't happen again until Dec 2117.

Transits of Venus are occur in repeating pattern every 243 years. Pairs of transits are eight years apart separated by (VERY) long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years. The last one was on June 8, 2004. Previous transits were  in Dec 1874 and 1882. The NEXT Venus transits will be in Dec 2117 and  2125.

Most of North America will see the beginning of the transit in the afternoon and evening on June 5; much of Eurasia sees the end of the transit in the morning on June 6. However, it will not be visible from most of South America or western Africa.Global map showing visibility of 2012 transit of VenusVenus transits were used to gain the first realistic estimates of the size of the solar system. Observations of the 1639 transit, combined with the principle of parallax, provided an estimate of the distance between the sun and the Earth that was considered more accurate than any other up until then. This current transit will provide scientists with a number of other research opportunities, including the refinement of techniques to be used in the search for exoplanets.

CAUTION — the same precautions used to observe a solar eclipse are needed to watch the Transit of Venus. Staring at the sun without appropriate eye protection can cause serious or permanent eye damage. So, if you plan to watch, just use proper eye protection.

Some online viewing sites for the Transit of Venus:

Graphics courtesy of NASA

9 comments:

Don't unplug your hub. said...

Whenever anything interesting happens in the heavens it always co-incides with cloudy skies here. So we are used to missing out.

Anvilcloud said...

I'm jealous. I want to see it but can't see any way to make it happen here.

Gail said...

Wow, I wish I had the equipment to watch safely.

Daisy said...

Sounds really amazing! I hope you enjoy the event.

Sandra said...

i guess this means we will miss the next one, huh? enjoy it

Out on the prairie said...

What a great event to be at the right place to watch

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

It looks like we will have clear skies but I have no safety glasses so I'll have to watch it online instead. I've herad that one can look through a cd disk but I'm not willing to try it myself :-) :-) :-)

Have a great day!
Christer.

SaucyKod said...

Thank you for a very informative post . I am afraid we will miss this here as it is overcast and misty, almost rain. Enjoyed this post very much :)

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

John, same weather here today.
AC, sorry to hear that.
Gail, telescope would be nice now.
Daisy, will tell all on Wed.
Sandra, us too!
Steve, wish we were in that place.
SaucyKod, thanks for the feedback!

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