SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) Homepage on Venus
and Green Bank Telescope's High-Resolution Radar Views of Venus
Pioneer Venus Homepage
Nine Planets Page (SEDS)
Transit of Venus Links
Transits of Venus
The next transits of Venus
Transits of Venus page
Venus in Transit book
Last Transit of Venus, 1882, observed from South Africa
Transit of Venus, 2004:
Many people on this list are looking forward to the upcoming 2004 and 2012 transits of Venus with great anticipation. I recently prepared a presentation on these two events which I have just posted on the web:
Of particular interest is the figure which shows the path of Venus across the Sun's disk during both transits:
Note that Venus will be about 1/32 the diameter of the Sun and should be visible to the unaided (but solar filtered) eye if your eyesight is excellent.
The global zones of visibility of the 2004 transit are illustrated in:
Similarly, the global zones of visibility of the 2012 transit are illustrated in:
Note that higher resolution versions of these figures are all available through links from the first URL address in this message.Furthermore, this primary web page has links to tables of local circumstances for nearly two hundred cities for each transit.
And speaking of transits, the next transit of Mercury is less than a year away (2003 May 07) and occurs just three weeks before the Iceland/Scotland sunrise annular eclipse (2003 May 31). The transit will be best seen from Europe, Africa and Asia. You can read all about it in my article in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's Observers Handbook for 2003. There is a map showing the global visibility as well as Mercury's path across the Sun. A table gives local circumstances for dozens of cities around the world. The entire article is posted online at:
Fifteen days after the launch of Mars Express, Europe has reaffirmed its trust in Soyuz: next stop Venus in 2005!http://sci.esa.int/content/news/index.cfm?aid=64&cid=4450&oid=32411
ESA Press Release, November 5, 2002
ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC) gave the final go-ahead for
the Venus Express mission. The SPC unanimously confirmed its strong
will to bring the mission to realisation. Launch is expected in 2005.
The European Space Agency has decided to start work on Venus Express for
launch in late 2005. To save money, it will use the same basic type of
vehicle as Mars Express.
Royal Astronomical Society Press Notice, April 3, 2002
The European Space Agency is planning its first mission to unveil the mysteries of Earth's cloud-shrouded sister planet, Venus. On Wednesday 10 April 2002, Professor Fred Taylor (University of Oxford) explained to the UK National Astronomy Meeting why European scientists are hoping to be on board the Venus Express in 2005.
Venus, the Earth's nearest planetary neighbour, is remarkably similar in size and mass to our own world. However, its atmosphere and climate could hardly be more different. The reasons for these contrasts are proving difficult to understand. Scientists still do not know, for example, the details of the greenhouse effect on Venus, which keeps the surface hot enough for molten metal to flow, despite the fact that Venus absorbs less heat from the Sun than the Earth does.
Venus and Earth have also evolved quite differently. Venus has vast, smooth plains, no continents and extensive volcanic activity that produces dense cloud layers with an exotic, sulphur-rich composition.
Most puzzling of all is the atmospheric circulation which features hurricane force winds at high levels that sweep around Venus in just four days - remarkably rapid for a planet that only rotates once every 243 Earth days.
"The planet's weather systems and climate characteristics cannot be understood by comparison with Earth," said Professor Taylor. "The failure of extrapolated terrestrial models to account for Venus' behaviour has wide implications in fields ranging from solar system evolution to climate forecasting on Earth."
Venus Express is proposed to be launched on a direct trajectory to Venus with a Soyuz-Fregat rocket from Baikonur in November 2005. After a flight of about 150 days, it will brake into a highly elliptical 5-day orbit around Venus. The spacecraft will then be manoeuvred to its operational polar orbit between 250 km and 45,000 km above the planet where, for two Venus years - equivalent to 450 Earth days - it will study the atmosphere, the surface and the plasma environment of Venus.
In order to lower costs, Venus Express is to be based on the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft (which is scheduled for launch in summer 2003) and it will use seven flight spare experiments from Mars Express and the Rosetta comet chaser.
"Venus Express is a strong candidate to be part of the next wave of Venus exploration, including Japanese and probably American space missions, which will probe the environment of this mysterious planet," concluded Professor Taylor.
X-ray views of fluorescence in Venus's atmosphere can be seen at
It has long been thought that Venus's backward spin, discovered with radar in 1961, came from an impact with a planetesimal. But models calculated by the French scientists Alexandre Correia and Jacques Lascar (Nature, June 14, 2001) show that Venus's original prograde rotation could have been stopped and reversed by tidal forces from the Sun on Venus's thick atmosphere and the friction between the atmosphere and the planet.