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Abu Dhabi Police prepare to watch transit of Venus

posted on 04/06/2012: 2444 views



Abu Dhabi Police's General Headquarters will join the world in detection of Venus as it crosses between the Earth and the sun on June 5. The spectacle will be viewed worldwide unfolding by using specialised telescopes.

Transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth, becoming visible against, and hence, obscuring a small portion of the solar disk. During a transit, Venus can be seen from Earth as a small black disk moving across the face of the Sun.

Commenting about the timing of Venus transit in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Astronomer, Nizar Salam, Chairman of the UAE Mobile Astronomical Observatory, an employee of the Directorate General of Central Operations at Abu Dhabi Police, said that the disk of Venus will start touching the edge of the external disk of sun in the so-called first contact at 02: 08 am, and the entry gets complete at 2: 25 am, both after midnight, therefore, the Venus transit will not be visible as the sun will be below the eastern horizon.

He added that Venus transit will reach climax at about 5: 31am. So the transit can be viewed clearly in the beginning of sunrise in Abu Dhabi at about 5: 33 am, indicating that the chances of viewing the transit will be better in the Northern Emirates because of sunrise time difference- about 9 minutes in the Emirate of Fujairah.

The duration of such transits is usually measured in hours (the transit of 2004 lasted six hours). A transit is similar to a solar eclipse by the Moon. While the diameter of Venus is almost four times that of the Moon, Venus appears smaller, and travels more slowly across the face of the Sun, because it is much farther away from Earth.

Transits of Venus are among the rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena.[1] They occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years. The periodicity is a reflection of the fact that the orbital periods of Earth and Venus are close to 8:13 and 243:395 commensurabilities.

The next transit of Venus will occur on 5 and 6 June 2012, and will be the last Venus transit this century; the prior transit took place on 8 June 2004. The previous pair of transits were in December 1874 and December 1882. After 2012, the next transits of Venus will be in December 2117 and December 2125.

Venus transits are historically of great scientific importance as they were used to gain the first realistic estimates of the size of the Solar System. Observations of the 1639 transit, combined with the principle of parallax, provided an estimate of the distance between the Sun and the Earth that was more accurate than any other up to that time. In addition, the June 2012 transit will provide scientists with a number of other research opportunities, particularly the refinement of techniques to be used in the search for exoplanets.

A transit of Venus can be safely observed by taking the same precautions used to observe the partial phases of a solar eclipse. Staring at the Sun without appropriate eye protection can quickly cause serious and often permanent eye damage.

Sequences of transits occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with transits occurring eight years apart followed by a gap of 121.5 years, then a gap of eight years and then another long gap of 105.5 years. The pattern repeats every 243 years because 243 sidereal orbital periods of the Earth (365.25636 days slightly longer than the tropical year) is 88757.3 days, and 395 sidereal orbital periods of Venus (224.701 days) is 88756.9 days. Thus, after this period both Venus and Earth have returned to very nearly the same point in each of their respective orbits. This period of time corresponds to 152 synodic periods of Venus. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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