Pick of The Week
 
 

Venus: just passing through (August 14, 2003)


Hi-res TIF image (4.3M)

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Although Venus is so close to the much brighter Sun that the planet can't be seen from earth right now, SOHO's C3 coronagraph has watched closely as Venus's orbit has slowly brought it to a point almost directly behind the Sun from Earth. (The blue disk blocks out the Sun, represented by the white circle in the center.) Since July 21 Venus has been in the instrument's field of view, slowly but methodically moving from right to left. It appears as a very bright object with the light bleeding out to the sides -- an indication that the planet is so bright, the charge in C3's charge coupled detector (CCD) camera "bleeds" to nearby parts of the detector . It will still be in our field of view until September 19. The Sun has been only modestly active during the six-day period of this video clip. Astronomers around the world are eagerly awaiting Venus's appearance between the earth and the Sun on June 8, 2004, when the planet will appear as a black dot crossing the face of the Sun - a "transit." Transits of Venus occur only twice every 113 years, about eight years apart.

You can learn more about the history and significance transit and find many related resources by going to: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/sunearthday/2004/index_vt.htm

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Previous Picks of the Week

SOHO began its Weekly Pick some time after sending a weekly image or video clip to the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Center) in New York City. There, the SOHO Weekly Pick is displayed with some annotations on a large plasma display.

If your institution would also like to receive the same Weekly Pick from us for display (usually in Photoshop or QuickTime format), please send your inquiry to steele.hill@gsfc.nasa.gov.

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