astronomy

Transit Venus



Transit Venus Position


Planet Transit From Transit To Transit Date Transit Time


What is Venus Transit?


The whole universe is highly mysterious, deep, scary and interesting. There are weird and unexplainable phenomena occurring every now and then. Just like we have our lunar and solar eclipse, a similar phenomenon occurs with other planets too. One such phenomenon is the transit of Venus.

What is it?
A transit of the planet Venus occurs across the sun when the planet passes between the Sun and another superior planet. This makes the planet visible against the sun’s disk.

This is visible from the Earth as a tiny black disk moving against the solar disk. This transit takes hours and the last one in 2012 lasted for 6 hours and 40 minutes. Though the diameter of Venus is times larger than that of the moon, it still appears smaller as Venus is very far away from Earth.

Predictable Pattern:
This astronomical phenomenon is predictable as this transit occurs in every 243 years with transit pairs 8 years apart. The pattern is separated by gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years. This is because the orbital period of the Earth and Venus are near 8:13 and 243:395.

Venus’s last transit occurred on 5th and 6th June 2012 and another won’t be visible in the 21st century now. Prior to this, the transit occurred on the 8th of June, 2004. The next transit of Venus will now occur on 10th and 11th December 2117 and on 8th December 2125.

Use of the transit:
These predictable transits of Venus helped scientists analyze the vastness of the Solar System and they were able to figure out a realistic estimate of its size. The distance between the Earth and the Sun was calculated using the principles of parallax with the observations from the 1639 transit. This was highly accurate in those years when getting such accurate calculations was indeed tough. Scientists used the 2012 transit to research on the techniques that should be used for the search of exoplanets.

A brief history:
Jeremiah Horrocks was the first person to record an observation of the transit of Venus. He observed it from his house in England on the 4th of December 1639. This one was also observed by William Crabtree from Broughton. It was Horrocks who rectified Kepler’s calculations and stated that transits of Venus will occur in pairs which are 8 years apart. He correctly predicted the transit in the year 1639. During that time, due to lack of advanced telescopes, Horrocks focused the Sun’s image through a telescope on a piece of paper. He finally got to see the transit at 15.15 hours which was just half an hour prior to sunset. He could make a guess of the size of Venus with the help of this observation and could also roughly estimate the mean distance between the Sun and the Earth.

NASA maintains a journal stating the transits of Venus from the period 2000 BCE to 4000 BCE. According to the pattern of transit, it occurs only in December or June. Sometimes, Venus only slightly grazes the solar disk and this can be seen as a full transit from some areas on the Earth and as a partial transit from some other areas.