How The Last Transit of Venus in Our Lifetime Will Help Us Find Other Planets

Monday, June 4, 2012 - 12:30 in Astronomy & Space

2004 Venus Transit Composite This filtered composite image was captured from Donja Stubica, Croatia, during the 2004 transit of Venus. This time, the planet will cross the sun's northern hemisphere. Andjelko Gilvar/ESOTomorrow's historical astronomical event is not just a beautiful novelty Tomorrow, skywatchers the world over will look up to behold a strange sight witnessed just seven times in the past five centuries. The last transit of Venus until 2117 is an occasion for astronomical celebration and historic import - we'll be watching something the greatest astronomers of any age have traveled the world to see. But this time, the black dot of Venus blotting out part of the sun means more than the astronomers of old could have hoped to know. This is a phenomenon that happens all the time in our galaxy; thousands, perhaps millions, of exo-transits are helping astronomers find planets around other stars. Watching Venus do it...

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