Venus: just passing through (August 14, 2003)
Hi-res TIF image (4.3M)
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
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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