Transit of Venus Story
A transit of Venus occurs when Venus passes directly between the sun and earth. This alignment is rare, coming in pairs that are eight years apart but separated by over a century. The most recent transits of Venus were a thrilling sight in June 2004 and 2012, with the next transit of Venus pair occurring in December 2117 and 2125.
Observers from two locations on earth see two distinct paths (red and blue) of Venus across the sun. The slight difference in times Venus takes, moving from edge to edge, can mathematically unlock the distance from earth to the sun, and thus the size of our solar system. For 17th & 18th century transits, intrepid explorers set out to answer a leading question of mankind. Not all of them made the voyage back home.
Mystery of "Black Drop"Just before or after the circular black dot of Venus seems to touch the edge of the sun, a peculiar "black drop effect" sometimes occurs between the contact points. A ligament of darkness smears the juncture of Venus and the sun. You can see a similar anomaly if you almost pinch your thumb and forefinger together. Just before you sense contact, a black feature spans your two digits.
Transits Lead the Hunt
Once again, transits are on the leading edge of new discoveries. The NASA Kepler mission and others are using the transit method to find habitable planets around distant stars. The Kepler spacecraft monitors over 150,000 stars, looking for periodic dips in their light curves which reveal the presence of companion planets. You, too, can join this quest for new worlds.
Midwest Treasure: TROVE
Art exhibits, family activities, a bus tour, historic artifacts, lectures, webcasts, telescope viewing, and more complemented the visual spectacle near the Michigan-Indiana border. This hub of 2012 transit of Venus activity in Michiana celebrated the math, science, history, and art of the celestial phenomenon.
- Poster: Transit of Venus Time Keg
- Community Celebrates
- Closure for Transit of Venus
- Vision For Future
- Video Follows Michiana Experience
- Transit of Venus Time Keg
- Viewing Great, Timing Difficult
- Time to Set Sail
- What if it's cloudy?
- You Can Learn a Lot From a Dot
- Can I Use Welding Glass to View the Sun?
The display in the left of the foyer as you enter will remain in place through May, whereas the exhibit on the right with the Irvin Stanley content will remain in place through the June 5 transit of Venus. The library, which also hosts the Transit of Venus in Pastels art exhibit, is one of the stops on the exclusive Transit of Venus motor coach tour on June 5.
A four-minute video, the Transit of Venus, is available in both high-resolution flat-screen and full-dome versions. Created by Patrick McPike and Chuck Bueter, the video introduces the transit of Venus, its historical significance, and modern applications of the transit method in the search for habitable planets around distant worlds.
Multiple types and sizes of files (right) are available for free download, hosted courtesy of NASA:
[Note: Projector manufacturers have been asked to assist in getting the content to their users, such as by converting the dome master to a format suitable for their respective systems. The ease of the task is dependent on the systems and their supporting network. Thanks to those who step up to help distribute the free video.]
The Transit of Venus Pizza takes on the characteristics of the celestial bodies seen during the transit, highlighted by spicy chorizo sausage, jalapeno peppers, and cheddar cheese. The Black Drop Effect Pizza is a veggie simulation of the event itself, with spinach punctuated by black olives. The interim orange logo, adapted by Lisa Taylor of Taylor Design, plays on the original branding for Pizza Transit, shown in blue.
Thanks to Pizza Transit for sharing their enthusiasm for the 2012 transit of Venus and for hosting a gathering of the TROVE planning team, right. Pizza Transit is also the site for a TROVE Adventure treasure hunt clue. If you visit Pizza Transit to get your Keyword, be sure to pick up a pizza while you're there. You won't be disappointed.
The Transit of Venus is a 4-minute video in high-resolution soon to be a free download in full-dome video for digital theaters. The mini-show summarizes the history and significance of the transit of Venus while preparing viewers for the June 5-6, 2012, spectacle. The story segues from Jeremiah Horrocks' first sighting, to expeditions seeking to measure the size of the solar system, to the Kepler spacecraft detecting planets as they transit distant stars.
With animation and video effects by Patrick McPike, Multimedia Artist and Technical Director at the Adler Planetarium, the dome master is readily compatible with full-dome digital theaters. The original song Morning Star by the band Transit of Venus from New Zealand is also available for free download. Narrated by Douglas Osthimer. Written and directed by Chuck Bueter.
SUGGESTED BY THE
TRANSIT OF VENUS, DECEMBER 6th, 1882
DELIVERED IN THE MEETING HOUSE OF THE
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, PHILADELPHIA,
ON THE EVENING OF THE SAME DAY.
By GEORGE DANA BOARDMAN
PUBLISHED BY REQUEST
Boardman writes that God expresses His commitment to man and His promise through the immutable expressions of nature. The predictable movements of planets "testify to the unchangeableness of nature's laws, that is to say, to the veracity of God's covenant of nature." That man can study those laws of nature and eke out predictions like the transit of Venus confirms the certainty of nature, itself a covenant from God. We cannot break these laws, though they can break us.
- You Can Learn a Lot From a Dot
- Order Bulk Solar Shades
- Solar Eclipse Sunset: Lake Michigan on May 20
- Arise, Ye Artists, For Ale and Astronomy
- Time Keg Seeks Your Imprint
- Galileoscope Solar Filter
- AstroFest in South Bend on April 28
- PHM Transit of Venus Art Contest
- Transit of Venus (TROVE) Art Exhibit
- The Sky for Homeschoolers & Beyond
- Sousa on March 8
- Call for Art: Transit of Venus in Pastel