Transit on the Midnight Sun

Transit on the Midnight Sun

Transit on the Midnight Sun

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
June 20 2012 10:00 AM

Transit on the Midnight Sun

Because why not, I have two more Venus Transit shots to show you. Well, one picture and one quick time lapse video. I know it's been a couple of weeks since the transit, but since today is the solstice, what the heck. And these are really special.

The first is a picture taken by friend-of-the-blog Babak Tafreshi, who founded and directs the wonderful project The World at Night, which shows people how lovely our skies are. He took several shots of the transit from Norway and put them together into this gorgeous composite photo:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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[Click to ensolarnate, and you really need to; I had to shrink it quite a bit to fit the width of the blog.]

I love this shot, because.... he took it at midnight! From northern Norway in June the Sun doesn't set; it skims the horizon at midnight, circling nearly parallel to it for a time. This coincided with the transit, making this one of the single most interesting sequences of the transit I've seen. I also like how the Sun went behind a hill there on the right, with Venus and a sunspot still peeking over the edge. Babak says he's working on a time lapse video of the event too. [This picture was also on today's APOD.]

Speaking of which, the second transit shot is a time lapse video sent to me by Mark Ellis (who took the pink aurora picture I posted yesterday). He took this sequence in Minneapolis as Venus crossed the Sun's face:

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Short, but neat! I also like the music; it was written by Mark's son Ryan. It fits the feel of the video very well.

I love these time lapse videos of the transit. The Sun is setting due to the Earth spinning on its axis, and Venus transiting the Sun due to its orbital geometry combined with our own. I like to picture all that motion in my head as I watch Venus silhouetted on the setting Sun, imagining myself affixed to a spinning world whirling around a star with other attendant worlds, all of us in a constant and complicated dance, moving to the tune of gravity.

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How wonderful it is that we can understand and appreciate this celestial clockwork!

Image credit: Babak Tafreshi/Dreamview.net/TWaN



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