Monday, June 11, 2012

The Transit of Venus

"If we as a nation want to prosper through math and science, then we need to celebrate math and science in action" Last week, we went to the Space & Rocket Center to view the transit of Venus. A transit of Venus occurs when Venus passes directly between the sun and earth. This alignment is rare, coming in pairs that are eight years apart but separated by over a century, so we were super thrilled to witness it. Historically it was one of the first ways that we were ablt to measure our Solar System. When observers from two locations on earth see two distinct paths of Venus across the sun, the slight difference in times Venus takes, moving from edge to edge, can mathematically unlock the distance from earth to the sun and thus the size of our solar system. We've studied the Solar System in school, but it was pretty neat to actually see something that we'd only read about in our studies. If you didn't catch this miracle, don't fret, our planets should align again sometime in 2117 :)

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