Posts tagged venus transit
Forget simply detecting a slight “dip” in brightness as an exoplanet transits in front of its star, soon we’ll be able to image the event. What’s more, by doing this we’ll see that exoplanetary transits look exactly like the historic Venus transit that wowed the world on Tuesday.
This is according to astronomer Gerard van Belle, of Lowell Observatory near Flagstaff, Ariz., who hopes to use an interferometer to carry out the mind-blowing goal of capturing the silhouettes of exoplanets drifting in front of distant stars. But that’s not all, this whole effort may help us track down the first bona fide Earth-like alien world.
Image: Left: A photograph of the Venus transit on June 5, 2012 (Ian O’Neill). Right: An artist’s impression of an exoplanet transit (ESO).
During the historic Venus transit on Tuesday, one photographer viewing the celestial spectacle at Lowell Observatory snapped a very terrestrial object crossing the sun’s disk when the transit was in full-flow. A passenger jet flew overhead right as Len Bright took his shot. Yes, the aircraft had photobombed the transit.
Photo credit: Len Bright/Lowell Observatory
As excitement builds for Tuesday’s Venus transit, astronomers hope to catch a rare and exciting glimpse of the planet’s atmosphere. What’s more, by analyzing the sunlight refracted through the Venusian upper atmosphere, we may also gauge its temperature.
During historic Venus transits, the celestial event has been used by astronomers as a scientific tool to precisely measure the distance from Venus to Earth, and Earth to the sun.