Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tyler Paper talks to Tom Hooten about the transit of Venus

Venus Will Be Visible In Day Sky; Tylerites Can See It At TJC's CESSE

Staff Writer

East Texans will have the opportunity to see one of the rarest sites in astronomy on Tuesday as Venus passes between Earth and the sun for the last time this century.
The Transit of Venus occurs about every 100 years in pairs separated by eight years, , said Tom Hooten, director of the Tyler Junior College's Center for Earth and Space Science Education.
A transit is characterized by an object moving in front of a larger object, Hooten said. Rather than covering the entire sun, Venus will merely resemble a small black disc moving across it.The last transit took place in June 2004 and after Tuesday, will not occur again until 2117 and 2125, he said.

When Johannes Kepler first theorized his laws of planetary motion he also made predictions about transits of Venus and Mercury, Hooten said.
"That really provided evidence back then of something that is common knowledge today -- that math can make predictions about what happens," he said. "That was revolutionary thinking back then, that you could actually predict what would happen in the heavens."

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