One of the most exciting things for sky watchers to view over the last year was the last solar transit of the planet Venus for over 100 years. The transit occurred yesterday in the United States, and if you forgot to watch, don’t worry. A tiny European space satellite took a video that’s much better than what you would’ve been able to see from Earth.
The ESA microsatellite Proba-2 resides in low-Earth orbit and was tracking Venus as it moved across the Sun over about seven hours. The reason Venus appears to move and wobble as it transits the Sun is the slight up-and-down motion of the satellite. The vast distance between the sun and the satellite also contributed to what we see as wobble in the recording.
One scientist says one moment to pay attention to is when Venus first appears to touch the outermost part of the solar disk resulting in a tiny dip in solar brightness. This dip in brightness is attributed to the thick atmosphere of Venus. Check out the video and see for yourself, it’s really cool.