If you missed yesterday’s celestial show, or just want to relive it in startling detail, you can check out NASA’s high-definition video of the June 5 Transit of Venus across the sun, with images and video courtesy the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
The SDO, which was launched in February 2010, is an incredibly advanced spacecraft designed specifically to study the sun and its atmospheric effects. The onboard instruments take images with resolutions eight times higher than high-def television sets, and record enough data to fill an entire CD every 36 seconds, bringing in over a terabyte of data in total each day.
The Transit of Venus is the rarest predictable solar event, when the planet Venus passes between the earth and the sun. The rare phenomenon actually occurs in pairs, with each event separated by eight years, but then takes over a hundred years for the planets to align properly again. The last Transit of Venus was in 2004, and, unfortunately, the next one won’t happen until 2117.