Tag Archives: Venus

Venus in Transit

4 Jun

Astronomy runs just like clockwork and the intricate workings are there for all to see, if you know where to look. This year and specifically this week you will have the opportunity to see it first hand. The planet Venus will pass between Earth and in front of our Sun giving us humans a rare glimpse at the motion of poetry the solar system offers.

Galileo, Joseph Kepler and James Cook have all observed this transit in the past and all have made their own calculations and written their own findings but much is still to be learned. The next and last transit visible for this generation will take place tomorrow night and continue into the morning of June 6th (GMT).

Now obviously it is difficult to view the sun during the night time so viewing it on the meridian line will be near on impossible. Opportunity comes very early in the morning just after the sun rises around 4.30 (GMT). The transit will begin the night before and carry on for 7 hours before climaxing at around 4.47(GMT).

Here is a map showing all the best locations to view any point of the transit courtesy of F.Espenak, NASA.

The fact is it will be extremely difficult to view the phenomena this time around and unfortunately the same event wont take place until 2117. The only way for us in the UK to view this sensation will be once it is over and images are released for us to marvel.

As upsetting as it is not to be able to view this first hand we are lucky enough to live in a world where these events are accessible to everyone in one form or another. So once the Goddess of Beauty has finished her journey across our star take a moment to think about the intricate workings of the Solar System and the beauty it offers us for our viewing pleasure.


VENUS EXPRESS Finds Ozone on Earths Twin

11 Oct

A satellite orbiting Venus has found that the planet has an Ozone layer similar to that of Earth’s. Useless to a planet as hot and dead as tortured Venus you might think… but what does this mean for Earths ‘twin’ planet and Earth it self?

Venus is a world quite similar to that of our own except the features that really matter for that of life to exist are so different. Venus is known as Earths ‘twin’ mainly because their size is almost identical and due to the fact it has an atmosphere high above its surface full of the common gases we depend on.

Venus orbits the sun 67 million miles away, which is over 25 million miles away from Earth. Being that close to our host star keeps temperatures soaring to 464 degrees Celsius, the hottest of any of the other seven planets.

The planet stays this hot due to the thick atmosphere layer that sits high above its surface trapping 80% of the sunlight that strikes it warming the gases inside. Venus’ heavy cloud coating is 96% carbon dioxide, which consists of three distinctive layers of Sulphuric Acid decreasing in density as you reach the boiling surface. With such a harmful array of gases how is it possible for the one we rely on to be formed?

An Ozone layer is a smaller, more delicate lining, to that of atmosphere, which covers planetary systems that produce significant levels of oxygen. Ozone is the name given to a molecule of three oxygen atoms (O3) that combine when sunlight does penetrate the concentrated poisonous atmosphere. The atoms are thrown together when the winds on Venus thrash continually around the dead body.

These ‘Ozone’ layers have only previously been detected on the Earth and its other next door neighbor Mars. On Earth this layer absorbs much of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet waves, which protect us from radiation along with the magnetic field and atmosphere. What is also believed is that the suns high level of solar rays enabled the creation of life supportive of oxygen.

This discovery of ozone by the Venus Express orbiter, and the previous acknowledgement of carbon dioxide and oxygen within the planets atmosphere, leads scientists to believe that finding other worlds that tick these biological boxes will aid the slimming down process when looking for both microbial and complex life.