Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Venus transit brings joy to astronomy students

Young campers watch rare event from Papal Observatory
An aerial shot of the Vatican Observatory at the Pope's summer villa in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. CNS photo.
An international group of astronomy students trained binoculars on Venus' passage across the face of the sun from the papal summer villa. Carol Glatz reports for the Catholic News Service:
"It was a special thrill to be able to see Venus from the Pope's palace," said Giannina Dalle Mese Zavala, a student from Mexico. Part of a month long summer school put on by the Vatican Observatory, the biennial program accepts 25 students from developing nations.
Students and faculty were up early at 5:30 local time with telescopes and binoculars specially fitted with solar filters to track the planet's movement across the sun, called a transit. The observatory's solar telescope now has a digital imaging camera that illuminated an up-close view.

The next transit involving Venus won't occur until 2117. Early astronomers used transits to  measure astronomical distances.
Read the full story here on the B.C. Catholic website.

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