Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Venus transit movie shows perspective in viewing our Solar System

Date:
September 28, 2012
Source:
Europlanet Media Centre
Summary:
New movies of the transit of Venus on June 6, 2012, viewed from two different locations on Earth, clearly show the parallax effects that have made Venus transits so important historically. The results were presented at the European Planetary Science Congress in Madrid, Spain.

Beginning of Venus transit, on June 6, 2012, 00:13:28 CEST. White light image from Svalbard Islands.
Credit: Pérez Ayúcar/Breitfellner

New movies of the transit of Venus on 6 June 2012, viewed from two different locations on Earth, clearly show the parallax effects that have made Venus transits so important historically. The results were presented at the European Planetary Science Congress in Madrid, Spain.

The movies compress 6 hours of observations and 5000 individual images taken by optical and solar telescopes into a 40 second video. Data gaps due to cloudy conditions produce jumps in the otherwise smooth Venus motion across the Sun disk. The observations were taken from Svalbard in Norway and Canberra in Australia, which are separated by 11600km.

When the images from the two locations are superimposed, the parallax effect (which first allowed astronomers to measure the distance between Earth to the Sun) becomes clear. Parallax means that when the transit is viewed from widely separated points on Earth's surface, Venus appears to follow a different path in front of the Sun's disc. Precise observations of the duration of the transit -- together with an accurate measurement of the distance between the observation points -- means that the distance to Venus and to the Sun can be calculated via triangulation.

The images used in the movies were obtained by members of the European Space Astronomy Centre, which is located outside Madrid. Two of the observers, Miguel Pérez Ayúcar and Michel Breitfellner are on the science operations planning team for the Venus Express satellite, which has been orbiting Venus since 2006.

Pérez Ayúcar said, "During the hours of the transit we were delighted by the slow, delicate, gracious passage of Venus in front of the Sun. A perfect black circle, containing a world in it, moving in front of its looming parent star. How thankful we were to witness it. Now with these movies, we can share a sense of that experience."

Breitfellner said, "In the 18th century people realised that transits of Venus could be used to measure the distance from Earth to the Sun. Teams of astronomers were sent all across the world to measure this effect. The 2012 transit has its own historical importance -- it is the first that has occurred when a spacecraft is in orbit at Venus. Science teams are now working to compare observations of the Venus transit from Earth with simultaneous observations from Venus Express."

Colin Wilson, Operations Scientist for Venus Express, said, "Planetary transits are not just of historical interest, they have acquired a new importance in the study of newly discovered planets around other stars. Because we cannot image exoplanets directly, it is only by studying their transits that we can discover whether they harbour liquid water or other potential 'biomarker' molecules like methane or ozone. The Venus transit is an example much closer to home, offering us a chance to test our understanding of how to interpret transit data. This certainly added extra interest as we watched the Venus transit in June -- particularly knowing it was our last chance that we'd have to wait until 2117 to see the next one!"

The videos can be viewed on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/50357146

and: https://vimeo.com/50356825

Video credits: Credit: Pérez Ayúcar/Breitfellner/Lightcurve Films


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Europlanet Media Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Europlanet Media Centre. "Venus transit movie shows perspective in viewing our Solar System." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928085346.htm>.
Europlanet Media Centre. (2012, September 28). Venus transit movie shows perspective in viewing our Solar System. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928085346.htm
Europlanet Media Centre. "Venus transit movie shows perspective in viewing our Solar System." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928085346.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) — A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) — NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

NASA (July 18, 2014) — Apollo 11 yesterday, Next Giant Leap tomorrow, Science instruments for Europa mission, and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins