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Venus, A Planetary Portrait Of Inner Beauty


A Venus transit across the face of the sun is a relatively rare event — occurring in pairs with more than a century separating each pair. There have been all of 53 transits of Venus across the sun between 2000 B.C. and the last one in 2004. On Wednesday, June 6 (Tuesday, June 5 from the Western Hemisphere), Earth gets another shot at it – and the last for a good long while. But beyond this uniquely celestial oddity, why has Venus been an object worthy of ogling for hundreds of centuries?

“Venus is a fascinating yet horrendously extreme place all at once,” said Sue Smrekar, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Although the surface is hot enough to melt lead due to its runaway greenhouse atmosphere, in many respects it is Earth’s twin [size, gravity and bulk composition].”

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-150

Astronomers Without Borders To Webcast Transit Of Venus From Mount Wilson Observatory


As Venus crosses the face of the Sun on 5/6 June for the last time in this century, Astronomers Without Borders will stream the event live to a worldwide audience from historic Mount Wilson Observatory in Southern California. With experts, authors, and astronomers on hand, and vintage telescopes alongside modern ones, there will be plenty to see and learn about this very rare event and its importance to historical efforts to understand our solar system.

Only six transits of Venus have been observed since the invention of the telescope more than 400 years ago. There were no transits of Venus from 1882 to 2004, and the next one won’t take place until 2117.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, scientific expeditions sailed around the world to observe transits of Venus from widely separated locations in an attempt to measure the distance from Earth to the Sun. This basic unit of measure for distance in the solar system is now known with great precision. But transits of Venus provide 21st century astronomers with ways to test their methods for discovering and exploring planets circling distant stars. These unseen planets sometimes cross in front of their stars, slightly dimming the star’s light, in an event known as an “exoplanet transit.”

Full Story: http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/projects/transit-of-venus/live-webcast.html

Astronomers Without Borders And Partners Bring Phone And Online Technology To The Transit Of Venus


Astronomers Without Borders has partnered with the Venus Transit Project and Esri, a leading geographic information systems company, to create unique smartphone and web apps for the transit of Venus.

Owners of mobile devices using the Apple and Android operating systems can now take part in the largest such effort ever thanks to a new free app developed by Steven van Roode of the Transit of Venus Project. Anyone can emulate the expeditions of old without leaving home or making lengthy measurements of their location or local time.

Just a few clicks on a smartphone is enough, and many thousands are expected to join in. The technology used was not available even for the Venus transit in 2004 — the only other transit to occur since the 19th century — ensuring that this project will see unprecedented participation.

For Apps: http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/news/newsletters/latest-newsletter.html

Slooh Space Camera To Broadcast Live Feeds Of The Transit Of Venus


Slooh Space Camera will broadcast ten free, real-time feeds of the Transit of Venus across the Sun live from solar telescopes located in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Hawaii, Norway, Arizona, and New Mexico. Slooh will track Venus across the Sun for the entirety of the event, starting on June 5th at 3:00 PM PDT / 6:00 PM EDT / 22:00 UTC, where a professional broadcast team of astronomy experts, filmmakers, science writers, engineers, and solar experts will explain what viewers are seeing.

The broadcast can be accessed at Slooh’s homepage, where viewers will be able to snap and share solar and transit pictures directly from Slooh live feeds to their Pinterest boards. Furthermore, viewers will be treated to an impressive panel of guests throughout the event, including BBC contributor Dr. Lucie Green, solar researcher at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL’s Department of Space and Climate Physics, Bob Berman, author of The Sun’s Heartbeat and contributing editor and monthly columnist for Astronomy Magazine, Duncan Copp, film producer and director of such acclaimed documentaries as In The Shadow of the Moon, John Spencer, Southwest Research Institute, and Dr. Dan Kelson, Carnegie Institution for Science.

Full Story: http://www.slooh.com/pr/slooh-live-feed-transit-of-venus-june-2012.php

Astronomers And Students From Williams College To Study The Transit Of Venus


WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., May 30, 2012 – The June 5 transit of the planet Venus across the face of our Sun, a rare event that won’t recur until 2117, is the subject of detailed study by a team of faculty and students from Williams College and their collaborators around the country and the world. They will be observing the event from the 10,000 foot location of the University of Hawaii’s Mees Solar Observatory on Haleakala, a dormant volcano on Maui, in a Science Park of telescopes there that is soon to contain the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope. Their work is sponsored by a research grant from the Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society.

Full Story: http://communications.williams.edu/news/5_30_2012_pasachoff_venus/

NSO To Use Venus Transit To Fine-Tune Search For Other Worlds


A century ago, scientists chased transits of Mercury and Venus in an effort to size up our solar system. In a couple of weeks, they will use the last transit for a century to learn how to size up other solar systems as we search for life in the universe.

“Astronomers in the 18th and 19th centuries observed transits of Mercury and Venus to help measure the distance from Earth to Sun,” said Dr. Frank Hill, director of the National Solar Observatory’s Integrated Synoptic Program. “We have that number nailed down now, but transits are still useful. This one will help us calibrate in several different instruments, and hunt for extrasolar planets with atmospheres.”

Full Story: http://www.nso.edu/press/VenusTransit2012

Your Complete Go-To Guide For June’s Transit Of Venus


On June 5th in North and Central America, and June 6th in Asia, Australia, and most of Europe, the planet Venus will cross in front of the Sun. This will be only the eighth such transit of Venus since the invention of the telescope, and the last one until December 10-11, 2117. Visit the URL above for a wide range of images and illustrations to help prepare your coverage of this historic sky event.

“This is it, folks,” says Robert Naeye, Editor in Chief of Sky & Telescope magazine. “Unless modern medicine comes up with a miracle to extend human lifespans, this transit of Venus will be your final opportunity to watch our sister planet cross the Sun’s fiery disk as seen from Earth.”

Full Story: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/about/pressreleases/Your-Complete-Go-To-Guide-for-Junes-Transit-of-Venus-155350785.html

Transit of Venus: Live Webcast June 5, 2012


On June 5, 2012, the Exploratorium presents a live webcast for the viewing of the transit of Venus, an astronomical phenomenon that will not occur again until the years 2117 and 2125.

An Exploratorium crew is webcasting this special 6.5-hour event live from the Mauna Loa Observatory on the big island of Hawaii. A telescope feed will be accompanied by audio commentary every 30 minutes. Visitors to the Exploratorium can view the phenomenon on large screens during museum hours and others worldwide can watch it via the Internet.

Full Story: http://press.exploratorium.edu/transit-of-venus/

Get Ready for the Transit of Venus!

May 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Scientists and amateur astronomers around the world are preparing to observe the rare occurrence of Venus crossing the face of the Sun on 5-6 June, an event that will not be seen again for over a hundred years. The occasion also celebrates the first transit while there is a spacecraft orbiting the planet – ESA’s Venus Express.

ESA will be reporting live from the Arctic island of Spitsbergen, where the Venus Express science team will be discussing the latest scientific results from the mission while enjoying a unique view of the 2012 transit under the ’midnight Sun’.

A transit of Venus occurs only when Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth. Since the orbital plane of Venus is not exactly aligned with that of Earth, transits occur very rarely, in pairs eight years apart but separated by more than a century. The last transit was enjoyed in June 2004 but the next will not be seen until 2117. Venus transits are of great historical significance because they gave astronomers a way to measure the size of the Solar System.

Full Story: http://www.esa.int/export/esaSC/SEMLSGZWD2H_index_0.html

New Resources For The Transit Of Venus By The University Of Barcelona


A transit is the crossing of a planet or any star in front of the Sun. Mercury and Venus are the only planets of the solar system that can make transits, because they are closer to the Sun than the Earth. On 5-6 June the transit of the planet Venus across the Sun will take place. Researchers from the Department of Astronomy and Meteorology (DAM) of the University of Barcelona (Spain) will live broadcast the phenomenon from the Svalbard Islands, in the Arctic, through the website Serviastro.

On this occasion, the UB has developed the web page Venus 2012 where specific information on this transit will be accessible, together with a series of activities on astronomical distances which have been made available to school centers, and a comic on the history of the transits of Venus by Josep Manel Carrasco can also be found there (only in Spanish and Catalan).

Venus 2012: http://serviastro.am.ub.edu/twiki/bin/view/ServiAstro/TransitVenus050612