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The transit of Venus

2004: Worldwide Telecommunications Network

The 2004 Venus transit got special attention. Of course, no-one alive now had ever seen a Venus transit and, thanks to modern telecommunication capabilities, the observation of this phenomenon was no longer reserved for the scientific community.

2004-TransitFutura-Sciences and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), for example, put lots of information on line, gathering videos and images taken the world over during the event.

2004-VEXThe Venus transits of the 21st century would not be used to determine the dimensions of our solar system. Since the Sixties, radar measurements and space probes have allowed us to better understand these sizes and, in 1976, the value for the Astronomical Unit was fixed by the International Astronomical Union at 149597870 km, with 8.794148" as a value for the average horizontal equatorial parallax of the Sun.

 

The study of the transits now has a new scientific interest: scientists measure the decrease in light recorded as Venus passes in front of the Sun. This technique is frequently used by astronomers to search for exoplanets.

2004-transit
The Venus transit of 2004 © NASA/LMSAL

 

Back to the Venus transits throughout history

 

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