Venus transit from space

Here’s a quick set of accelerated time-lapse videos of Venus’s transit across the face of the Sun, as shot by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), using a wavelength of light that emphasizes solar prominences and results in a spectacular picture:

SDO is in an inclined geosynchronous orbit. A normal geosynchronous orbit, as used by communications satellites (and originally proposed by Arthur C. Clarke) is directly over the equator and far enough away that it takes the same amount of time for the satellite to orbit the Earth as it does for the Earth to rotate once on its axis 23 hours, 56 minutes, and tiny bit more. (The time from noon to noon averages 24 hours even, because the Earth has moved along in its orbit around the Sun and hence needs to rotate a tiny bit more for the same spot to be looking toward the Sun)

Putting SDO in an inclined orbit lets it look “over” and “under” the Earth to have a continuous view of the Sun, but it allows a single ground station using a steerable antenna to collect the data streaming in from the satellite at a very high rate.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated, which can take up to a day (rarely even two), so please be patient. I welcome agreement, disagreement, and corrections on anything from substance to spelling. I try to weed out spam and anything defamatory or pointlessly insulting (to anybody), unless of course I think it's really funny.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.