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Transit of Venus

June 6, 2012 by Rose Hoban in Featured

It’s not health care… but it is science on a cosmic scale. Tuesday evening was the last time Venus will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun in this century, casting a shadow on the solar disc. Most of us won’t be here to see it again, as the next Transit will not occur until 2117.

A few hundred years ago, the Transit of Venus was a big deal. Astronomers and scientists traveled the globe to be in the best spots for viewing, and making measurements of the Transit. Data derived from the Transits allowed early modern scientists to calculate the distance of the Earth to the Sun, to Venus, and extrapolating from that, enabled scientists and mathematicians to calculate the size of the solar system.

It’s a big universe out there. Sometimes it’s a good reminder that even as lawmakers argue health policy on the state and national scale, the cosmos just keeps rolling along.

We’ll have a couple of health care stories later Wednesday.

Venus visible on the face of the solar disc through some thin clouds.

Venus visible on the face of the solar disc through some thin clouds. Other small black specks visible on the solar disc are sunspots. Photo: Rose Hoban

Venus starts its way across the face of the Sun. Photo by Tony Garcia.

Venus starts its way across the face of the Sun. Photo by Tony Garcia.

Venus visible on the Sun's disc, lower right, with sundogs.

Venus visible on the Sun's disc, lower right, with sundogs. Photo: Rose Hoban

Transit of Venus, sun sinks into the trees

As the evening progressed, the sun sank into the trees, wth Venus visible between Earth and the solar disc. Photo: Rose Hoban

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