06.05.2012 4:35pm mst Just moments ago and moments after it started here is a shot of the planet Venus passing over the sun. I shot this with a simple handheld camera using a pair of inexpensive solar viewing glasses. This site won’t be seen from earth for 105 years in 2117 and 2125. It’s a once in a lifetime view. More info from NASA.
It’s a bittersweet coincidence of fate that the same day that’s darkened by news of the passing of Ray Bradbury, the long-reigning master of the literary science-fiction tale, also brings us some magnificent footage captured by a NASA spacecraft during yesterday’s ultra-rare transit of Venus across the blazing face of the sun.
Transit data are rich with information. By measuring the depth of the dip in brightness and knowing the size of the star, scientists can determine the size or radius of the planet. The orbital period of the planet can be determined by measuring the elapsed time between transits. Once the orbital period is known, Kepler’s Third Law of Planetary Motion can be applied to determine the average distance of the planet from its stars. Credit- NASA Ames