Saturday, 22 December 2012

Transit of Venus Viewed From Saturn

Dec. 20, 2012: Last June, astronomers urged sky watchers to observe the transit of Venus.  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, they said. The black disk of the second planet wouldn't crawl across the face of the sun again for more than 100 years.

Saturn Transit of Venus (Earth transit, 200px)
A transit of Venus seen from Earth on June 6, 2012. Photo credit: Bum-Suk Yeom of Daejeon, South Korea

In fact, it's happening again this week--not on Earth, but Saturn.

"On Friday, Dec. 21st, there will be a transit of Venus visible from Saturn, and we will be watching it using  the Cassini spacecraft," says Phil Nicholson, a Cassini science team member from Cornell University. "This will be the first time a transit of Venus has been observed from deep space."

Because Saturn is 10 times farther from the sun than Earth, this transit of Venus won't be so easy to see.   The silhouette of the second planet will be just a tiny black speck on the shrunken disk of a sun 10 times farther from Saturn than Earth.  Cassini won't be beaming back any "beauty shots."  Nevertheless, the spacecraft will be conducting potentially ground-breaking science.

More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/20dec_transitofvenus/

Source: NASA Science News.

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