On June 5-6, planet Venus will partially eclipse the Sun as seen from Earth. The SWAP and LYRA instrument on-board PROBA2 are prepared for this unique occurrence. The images and movies of the event are posted on this page as soon as they are available, i.e. downloaded from the spacecraft and processed at the Science Centre (times below in local Belgian time = 2 hours later than UT).
22:40: The images with the very first sign of Venus in the SWAP field-of-view were just downloaded. The SWAP image below is contrast-enhanced to see little variations in the black background. Venus is visible as the dark spot on the left side of the image (taken at 19:45UT):
00:30: At the following contact with PROBA2, the image below was downloaded. Venus approaches the solar limb in the last SWAP image, taken at 21:23UT. Venus shows up as a black circle as it moves in between the Sun and the Earth. The light emitted from the solar corona behind Venus and part of its atmosphere is absorbed. Around 21UT, a small solar flare went off on the solar surface. You can see the activity in the SWAP movie.
01:50: First contact as seen from PROBA2 took place on 22:16 UT (see image below). Venus is now sliding in front of the Sun, as shown in the updated SWAP movie.
The movie will be updated after every contact with the spacecraft - every 100 minutes - and more images will fill up the gaps so that the transit movie will show a smoother trajectory. However, when the SWAP movie is played at fast speed, one might notice that the Venus trajectory is wobbly. This can be explained by PROBA2’s low-Earth orbit which crosses over the two Earth poles. It creates the illusion that Venus moves up and down in the images, but it is in fact PROBA2 that changes its viewpoint along its orbit.
To show what we expect later tonight, we provide you with a simulation of the Venus Transit as it will be seen by SWAP.
|Transit Simulation movie||Venus approaching SWAP field-of-view|