VENUS 2012: Just a black dot?

28 May 2012 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Martin Wood Complex, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PU
Martin Wood Lecture Theatre
Family friendly


VENUS 2012

Just a black dot?

Historical public lecture

When: Monday 28 May, 6-7pm
Where: Martin Wood Lecture Theatre, Martin Wood Building, Parks Road
Audience: 10+ years

On 5th June 2012 Venus will appear as a perfect black dot crossing the face of the Sun. This is known as a transit and is a very rare event to view from Earth. Only Venus and Mercury are placed to do this and only then when there is an exact alignment of orbits. Though occurring in pairs a few years apart, this is generally a once in a lifetime experience.

First predicted by Kepler to happen in 1631, it was not viewed and recorded till 1639 by Horrocks, who with great accuracy correctly predicted all the subsequent transit timings. After the excitement of the June 2004 transit, Venus returns to make its last transit until December 2117.

The talk will look at the historical importance and Oxford’s connections, the details of this year's transit and at the modern relevance of making accurate transit observations. The lecture is open to all and will be suitable for age 10 upwards.

Safety note: No aspect of the transit should be viewed directly without specialist solar filtering.

Image credit: NASA/LMSAL

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