We previously brought you a video capturing beautiful images of a “super moon“, but we now have some amazing photos from another astronomical event - the transit of planet Venus across the Sun. The event was observed in Japan on June 6th over a period of approximately six hours starting from 7 a.m. Japan Time. You may want to take a look at these images, because the next time Venus makes a transit across the Sun will be 105 years from now!
A transit such as the one recently observed occurs when Venus becomes visible as a small black disc against the Sun as Venus moves between the Sun and the Earth (or another planet). In principle, it is similar to when the moon passes between the Sun and Earth and causes a solar eclipse. This time, areas from which the entire transit was visible included: the western Pacific Ocean, northwesternmost North America, northeastern Asia, Japan, the Philippines, eastern Australia, New Zealand, and Arctic locations including northernmost Scandinavia, and Greenland. In Japan, poor weather conditions prevented the event from being visible in Northern and Eastern Japan, but people in Western and Southern Japan were able to observe the phenomenon.
The Japanese solar observation satellite “Hinode” (meaning “sunrise” in Japanese) captured images of the event from space, and the pictures that have been made public are truly impressive and breathtaking.
The satellite Hinode, which is in orbit around the Earth at an altitude of about 680 km (about 425 miles), was apparently in position to monitor the entire transit of Venus. However, because the satellite was moving in a North-South direction, the movement of Venus appeared from the satellite as if it was rippling in a wave-like motion.
Videos and pictures of the entire event can be seen on the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s dedicated Hinode website (in Japanese). Viewing these images, it almost looks as if Venus is being drawn into the Sun, and you cannot help but feel awed by the overwhelming presence of the Sun and the spectacular sights from space.
On the same website, you can also see in addition to detailed information on the Hinode satellite, large-sized pictures (you can click the pictures to enlarge them) of the Venus transit, so it may be worth taking a look if you want to view larger, clear images of the event. Not only is the transit visually spectacular, but we think it’s pretty awesome that a similar event won’t be happening for another 105 years!
Source and Photos: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan /Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency: JAXA (Japanese)
▼See the movement of Venus across the Sun!
▼A sight you won’t be able to see for another 105 years!
[ Read in Japanese ]