Oh actually you mean the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun viewed from the planet Earth.
Stargazers and astronomers were out in force last night for the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun, an event that won't happen again for 105 years. It took the planet almost seven hours to pass in front of our solar system's star, and regular folks had to watch with suitable telescopes or through special viewing …
As long as you are imagining it as the relative distance it is at during that pass, between Earth and the Sun.
In reality plonk it near the sun and it shant look quite so large, plonk it closer to us and it shall look much larger. I am sure you are aware of this and I read your comment wrong but I thought I would post for clarity.
"Does passing between us and the Sun offer up more detail as to it's composition or something"
There was a Horizon program I watched on iPlayer last night that explained all the good science going on, loads of it, even the search for ET in the rest of the galaxy.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01jszy4/Horizon_20112012_The_Transit_of_Venus/ of you can.
British summer means grey clouds.
Bank holiday weekend means rain likely.
Extra long bank holiday in the summer - it was inevitable really :(
Would be okay if the water soaked down into the parched aquifers around here but apparently it's not doing. All it's doing is making the lawn and weeds grow faster than normal.
Casual astronomy in good olde Blighty is really nothing more than an exercise in disappointment managment. Come and see the once-in-a-lifetime (for those of you bound by gravity's surly bonds), the marvellous, the magnificent, ... oh plop! It's sodding well cloudy AGAIN. Ho hum, quick cup of tea and back to the morris dancing then.
Having said that, I did get to see the last one in '04 so no substantial misery this time round.
I really don't see what the fuss is about.
A black dot moving across the face of the sun. Big deal. I have friends in Norway, where apparently they held huge parties, and festivals to mark the occasion. Well, I can accept any excuse for a party, but really, come on... It was just a black dot moving across the sun. It didn't change anything.
"...a total solar eclipse is just a bigger black dot moving across the face of the sun."
Clearly, the words of someone who has never seen one for real (TV doesn't count).
Only sociopaths or psychopaths would have so little emotion as not to be awed by the experience. So far, I've seen three total eclipses and they're indelibly etched on my mind as some of the greatest experiences of my life.
I suggest you undertake a kindergarten-level course in History and Philosophy of Science to understand the significance of the Transit of Venus event.
A clue: ask yourself why in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries would nations send their best scientists around the world risking life and limb (and many died in the process) just to see a little spot crossing the sun.
...Err silly me, you really can't be that stupid--surely you're just bating and I'm stupid enough to bite.
Dear NASA. Your next Mars rover: please design the bloody thing so you can watch this, unlike the 2005 Mercury transit which you didn't have a good enough camera to see!
And yes, the transits of Deimos and Phobos are cool. But have you seen how rubbish the pictures are?
The "send a decent camera to Mars" campaign starts here.
This articulated my thoughts well regarding the fuss about Venus: http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2012/06/04/154282601/the-venus-transit-who-cares
The highlight of viewing the transit through my scope was the 3D effect of Venus crossing the perimeter of the sun (between 1st and 2nd contact for you science folks). Otherwise it was simply a black dot on the sun.
Saw it clearly and in focus through a Cassegrain telescope despite bouts of clouds and rain. A truly wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I wonder what Jeremiah Horrocks and William Crabtree (who were the first on record to see the Transit of Venus in 1639) would have thought if they knew that by 2012 we'd know the distance from Earth to Venus within an accuracy of only a few metres.
(I find it truly remarkable that these blokes, who in their day had only the most primitive astronomical equipment, not only corrected minor errors of Johannes Kepler and predicted the correct date in 1639 to view the Transit but that they also predicted precisely the dates of the 21st Century transits. One can only be in awe of their brilliance, especially Horrocks who died shortly afterwards at the remarkably young age of only 22.)
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