Transit When Planets Cross the Sun

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Mercury's slower orbital motion at aphelion makes it less likely to cross the node during the critical period. November transits recur at intervals of 7, 13, or 33 years while May transits recur only over the latter two intervals. Table 4 lists all transits of Mercury from through Mercury transits separated by the interval of 46 years occur on nearly the same calendar date within days depending on the number of intervening leap years and same orbital node, and the planet has a similar path across the Sun. This makes the year period an analog to the Saros period for solar eclipses.

It's a natural period in which to organize Mercury transits into series.


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The transit of is a member of series It is the 11th of 19 transits in the series running from the years to Transit series are numbered in the order in which each reaches its midpoint in a ,year catalog developed by Aldo Vitagliano. Edmund Halley first realized that transits could be used to measure the Sun's distance, thereby establishing the absolute scale of the solar system from Kepler's third law. Unfortunately, his method is somewhat impractical since contact timings of the required accuracy are difficult to make.

Nevertheless, the and expeditions to observe the transits of Venus gave astronomers their first good value for the Sun's distance. Because Venus's orbit is considerably larger than Mercury's, its period is also longer, making transits of Venus much more rare.


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  6. Indeed, only eight such events have occurred since the invention of the telescope , , , , , , and During the current era, transits of Venus are only possible in early December and early June when Venus's orbital nodes pass across the Sun. Venus transits show a clear pattern of recurrence at intervals of 8, The next two transits of Venus occur over a century from now on Dec 11 and Dec Both catalogs can be accessed from the transit page at:.

    To determine whether a transit is visible from a specific geographic location, it is simply a matter of calculating the Sun's altitude and azimuth during each phase of the transit. As an aid to historical research, the transit catalogs have also been ported into several Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files which perform the these calculations automatically. Upon entering the desired latitude and longitude, each Excel file calculates the altitude of the Sun at that location for every transit in the file and at each of the four contacts.

    To simplify the spreadsheet calculations the Sun's geocentric coordinates at greatest transit are used. This results in the accuracy in the Sun's altitude to within one degree. The Excel files can be accessed at:. The Transit predictions were generated on an Macintosh G4 computer using algorithms developed from Meeus [] and the Explanatory Supplement []. All calculations, diagrams, tables and opinions presented in this paper are those of the author and he assumes full responsibility for their accuracy. Random Question.

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    Transits of Mercury and Venus

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    EclipseWise - Transits of Mercury and Venus

    The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. A few questions regarding the transit of planets Ask Question. Asked 10 months ago.

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    Active 10 months ago. Viewed times. I have a few questions that I am not sure about: 1 Do all planets transit their parent sun? I want to know if my understanding of transits is correct by these questions. Rob Jeffries Rob Jeffries The transits of all the planets can be seen from exterior planets, though the transits of say Saturn from Neptune are exceedingly rare If you are in the orbital plane of the planet, you will eventually see a transit.

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