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Transit of Venus – again

21 April 2012

At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_of_Venus … in order to make a little more sense of yesterday's post on what is due to come about in June, Wikipedia describes the even in transparent terms, the planet Venus crossing the Sun when Venus is between the Sun and the Earth, becoming visible against the solar disc. During the transit Venus can be seen from Earth as a small black spot crossing the face of the Sun – so what is the big deal? What is all the fuss about? Well, scientists don't visualise anything out of the ordinary happening and see it as just another astronomical event worth looking at through the telescope. The post at Tall Bloke's Talkshop was not so much about the actual transit itself but the effect of the magneto-tail of Venus which presumably would point directly towards the Earth and in the process come very close to our magnetosphere – or even our atmosphere, possibly even brushing it, somewhat like a swipe from a feather duster.

Transits themselves occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits 8 years apart but separated by long gaps of 121 and 105 years. A transit has already taken place in 2004 and the next one in the pair is due in June this year. The following pair will not occur until the next century. As nothing of sorts happened in 2004 it is therefore unlikely anything spooky will happen this year. However, I did notice at www.badastronomy.com that the defender of the faith was a trifle upset as he had a post criticising Chinese claims heavy flooding events in the Yellow River valley appeared to coincide with transits of Venus. He parried this by saying flooding events in the Yellow River valley were exceedingly common occurrences, which is true – and they may take place at any time of the year. In the Chinese support we may note there is flooding and there is heavy flooding. The Bad Astronomy guy had not actually read what the Chinese had to say and therefore his criticism was, shall we say, a little to the front. He was debunking it because it didn't fit his preconceived 'belief' system – the planets do not affect the harmony of the solar system. Earthquakes and floods are so common it is all a coincidence – and so forth. 

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