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TRANSIT OF VENUS: The 2012 Transit of Venus is finished, and it lived up to the hype. The inky-black silhouette of the second planet was wondrous to behold as it slowly glided across the solar disk on June 5th and 6th. Images from around the world may be found in the Realtime Transit of Venus Photo Gallery.
For the first time, a spacecraft has taken Hubble-quality photos of a Venus transit. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the event from geosyncronous orbit 36,000 km above Earth's surface. Click to view sample of the data SDO gathered:
SDO was able to track Venus across the full disk of the sun using a variety of white-light and extreme ultraviolet filters. The resulting movies are not only visually beautiful, but also full of scientific potential, especially for researchers who wish to study the strange dynamics of Venus's atmosphere.
The view from Earth wasn't bad either. "I knew I would not be able to take a better image of the transit than SDO, so I had to come up with something that SDO could not do, something that is seen only through Earth's atmosphere," says Mila Zinkova of San Francisco, California. "This something was, of course, a mirage."
"The upper frame shows Venus distorted by the reafractive action of Earth's atmosphere," she explains. "In the lower frame Venus is back to her normal self. I took both pictures using a Canon Powershot SH40."
Realtime Transit of Venus Photo Gallery
[Submit your photos] [NASA videos: 2012 Transit of Venus, ISS Transit of Venus]
Transit of Venus Web Links:
BEFORE THE TRANSIT: For some astronomers, the show began even before Venus crossed the sun. Hours before the transit, Venus reshaped itself from a simple crescent to a nearly-complete ring of light. Lorenzo Comolli photographed the phenomenon from Tradate, Italy:
The effect is caused by particles in upper layers of Venus's atmosphere which scatter sunlight around the circumference of the planet. The ring is very difficult to observe, and often only black-belt astrophotographers are able to record the complete ring.
"This picture was taken while Venus was a scant 2°17' from the sun's center, and it was very difficult to obtain due to the extreme proximity of the solar limb," says Comolli. "Extreme care was due to avoid the sun light entering the telescope. The extension of the crescent to form a nearly complete ring was remarkable on June 4, while nearly invisible on June 2. Another interesting observation is the limb brightening in Venus's southern hemisphere between 50° to 70° latitude. For confirmation, I obtained a second image using a W25 filter (red) that shows the presence of the brightening in the same way."
more images: from Tobias Kampschulte of Gennadi, Rhodes, Greece; from Steve Miller of Lake Havasu City, Arizona: from Antonios Pantelidis of Florina, Greece; from Rob of Liverpool, UK; from Elias Chasiotis of Markopoulo, Greece; from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from Ernie Mastroianni of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; from Joe Mcbride of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs
) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones
all the time.
On June 6, 2012 there were 1293 potentially hazardous asteroids. Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
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| ||Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever. |
| ||3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory |
| ||Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. |
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