NASA Spacecraft Provides an Up Close View of Tuesday’s Transit of Venus [VIDEO]
Total science geek-out moment in 3..2...1...
Yesterday marked the second time in eight years and the last time for 105 years the planet Venus makes it's transit across the face of the sun. In simpler terms, Venus passed in front of the sun and if you had the right equipment (a homemade "pinhole camera") you could see it with the naked eye (don't fell bad, I had to look it up).
If you missed it, don't worry, because the fine people at NASA just happened to have highly advanced spacecraft studying the sun that happened to catch pretty much the whole thing.
The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is a really, REALLY fancy piece of equipment launched in February of 2010 designed to study the sun. Specifically it's atmosphere and magnetic field as well as give scientists here on planet Earth a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth's atmospheric chemistry and climate.
It captures pictures with resolution eight times better the HD TV. Feel pretty stupid spending two-grand on that snazzy TV right about now don't you?
I tried to figure out a way to easily explain how the SDO was able to capture the images used for the video below, but I didn't quite understand it so here's how it works straight from the video's description provided by NASA:
The videos and images displayed here are constructed from several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light and a portion of the visible spectrum. The red colored sun is the 304 angstrom ultraviolet, the golden colored sun is 171 angstrom, the magenta sun is 1700 angstrom, and the orange sun is filtered visible light. 304 and 171 show the atmosphere of the sun, which does not appear in the visible part of the spectrum.
Uh...OK. So basically it has some really fancy lenses that took some really awesome pictures? Yeah, let's go with that.