Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Venus Transit Approaching

30.04.2004



In some hours, at midnight between Friday and Saturday, ten more countries will join the European Union. The EC-supported Venus Transit 2004 (VT-2004) programme is active in almost all of these, with VT-2004 National Nodes already established the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia; more are likely to follow soon. The organisers include the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the next VT-2004 meeting will be held near Prague on May 7-9 (see below).

Venus Moves Closer

"Catching up" with the Earth in its orbit (see VT-2004 Animation C), Venus will be placed exactly between the Sun and our planet in the morning of June 8, the day of the extremely rare event, known as a "Venus Transit". Observers in the eastern hemisphere will be able to see Venus as a black spot slowly crossing the solar disk during about 5 1/2 hours.



Until then, Venus orbital motion takes it closer to us and this planet will therefore become apparently larger in the sky. Today, April 30, the distance between the Earth and Venus is 69 million km; on June 8, it will be 43 million km only. Today, its disc subtends the same angle as a 1 Euro coin seen at a distance of 140 m (35 arcsec); on June 8, that distance will be only 85 m (57 arcsec).

This effect is nicely illustrated on the photo which combines five images of Venus, obtained by Hans-Goeran Lindberg between April 8 and 27 from his observatory in Sweden. As can be noticed, we arealso gradually seeing Venus "from behind" - the phase is rapidly changing and Venus’s crescent will become more and more narrow during the coming weeks.

Earth Transit on May 4!

Quite a few photos were submitted to the VT-2004 Photo archive that show the close approach in the sky of the Moon and Venus on April 22-23.

The Moon will also be an interesting object next Tuesday (May 4) when it passes through the Earth’s shadow during a "total lunar eclipse". This kind of celestial event is much more common than a Venus Transit and will offer observers in Europe, Africa and Asia who have clear skies a fine view of a dark red Full Moon.

If you were standing on the surface of the Moon at that time, you would see the Earth move in front of the Sun and block the sunlight - this is in fact an "Earth Transit"! However, some sunlight is deflected through the Earth’s atmosphere and will be seen as a glowing ring of light around our planet. This is also the reason why the Moon will appear very red during the eclipse - blue light from the Sun is dispersed much more in the Earth’s atmosphere than red light (that is also why our sky is blue during daytime). Accordingly, more red than blue light will reach the Moon during the eclipse.

More information about the lunar eclipse may be found at many websites, e.g. those of NASA - Eclipse home page (F.Espenak) or the IMCCE (in French).

VT-2004 Observing Campaign

As of today, over 300 observers from all continents except Antarctica (where the transit will anyhow be essentially invisible) have registered with the VT-2004 Observing Campaign. They will attempt to measure the exact times when Venus passes the Sun’s limb on June 8 and submit their data to the VT-2004 Centre via the corresponding webpage. Here, all observations will be combined in an historical re-enacting of the measurement of the distance from the Earth to the Sun. More news will soon follow about this unique undertaking.

VT-2004 Amateur Meeting

On May 7-9, 2004, about 40 amateur astronomers from almost as many countries will meet with the members of the VT-2004 Interntional Steering Committee in Brandys near Prague (Czech Republic). This encounter will serve to discuss in depth how observations of the Venus passage can best be done. The meeting will also help to find ways to further stimulate the participation by amateurs and other interested persons in the many activities surrounding the Venus Transit and the VT-2004 project. A report on this meeting will follow in VT-2004 Press Communication No. 3 and the Amateurs’ webpage will be updated right thereafter.

Live Images of the Transit on June 8

The system by which live images from many different observing sites will be displayed at the VT-2004 Central Display during the transit on June 8 is now being set up. Contacts have been made with a number of strategically located professional observatories and it is also foreseen that many public and private observatories will provide images on this occasion. In view of the expected, enormous traffic volume on the Internet, VT-2004 has contracted with the Akamai company to use approximately 200 mirror sites all over the world beginning the day before the transit. This should ensure easy access to everybody, even in the most intense period.

More Educational Material

The Students and Teachers Webpage has been updated and now contains more useful and interesting material for schools, associations, etc., suitable for different age levels.

Of certain public interest will also be the VT-2004 Quiz by means of which you may test your knowledge about the Venus transit. The correct answers are given at the end, together with onward links towards the related Information Sheets.

Richard West | alfa
Further information:
http://www.vt-2004.org/Media/vt-comm-02.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>