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The Venus-Sun Distance

In this laboratory students will calculate the Venus-Sun distance using astronomical images from a Venus transit. By the end of this Science Case students will understand the main concepts about transits and know how to use use trigonometry and parallax for measuring distances.


Our knowledge about parallax makes possible to measure huge distances in space. Transits are rare astronomical events that can be used for measuring such distances. Every Venus transit (except the last two in 2004 and 2012) was used world wide to determine distances in our Solar System. Although now superseded by modern measurement techniques, this method is still a very instructive way of understanding the orbital movements of the inner planets in our solar system and the parallax measuring process. The images taken during two CESAR expeditions to Svalbard and Australia to observe the transit of Venus on 2012-06-06 are used in this Science Case to determine the Venus-Sun distance.

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