WEBCAST: Venus Takes the Sunny Route

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Science  28 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5675, pp. 1221
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5675.1221e

Venus is about to glide into the limelight. For the first time since 1882, on 8 June our sister planet will pass directly between Earth and the sun, a maneuver called the Transit of Venus (Science, 14 May, p. 949). Past transits provided scientists with the first solid estimates of the distance from Earth to the sun, and astronomers hope this go-round will help their studies of extrasolar planets. Tune in to these three sites to watch the event live and read about the history of transit watching.

The Web will be a boon for Venus fans in North America, who would otherwise see at most the transit's tail end. The Exploratorium in San Francisco will host two live, 45-minute Webcasts from the Penteli Observatory near Athens, Greece, located in the prime viewing zone. The first program starts on 8 June at 1 a.m. Eastern Time, minutes before Venus first nuzzles the sun. This NASA site will offer images from a dozen observatories in the Americas and Asia. Fun tidbits include photos from the 1882 transit and an animation of what the event might look like from space. The European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany, promises live footage and commentary from astronomers.

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