The Transit of Venus of 6 June 2012, as seen from Wiltshire in the UK. Credit: Grant Privett

Venus transit and lunar mirror could help astronomers find worlds around other stars

January 7, 2013

(Phys.org)—On 6 June 2012 Venus passed directly between the Earth and the Sun, in a so-called transit where the planet appears as a silhouette against the solar disk, something that will not happen again until 5 December 2117. A team of Italian astronomers led by Paolo Molaro of the Instituto Nazionale di Astrofisica at the University of Trieste used the opportunity to perform an unusual and challenging experiment, looking at the sunlight reflected off the Moon (‘moonlight’) to see how it changed during the transit. This technique could help scientists to find planets in orbit around other stars. The team publish their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.

Read more: Venus transit and lunar mirror could help astronomers find worlds around other stars — phys.org.

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