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High-resolution Satellite Imaging of the 2004 Transit of Venus and Asymmetries in the Cytherean Atmosphere

Pasachoff, Jay M. and Schneider, Glenn and Widemann, Thomas (2011) High-resolution Satellite Imaging of the 2004 Transit of Venus and Asymmetries in the Cytherean Atmosphere. Astronomical Journal, 141 (4). Art. No. 112. ISSN 0004-6256.

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This paper presents the only space-borne optical-imaging observations of the 2004 June 8 transit of Venus, the first such transit visible from Earth since AD 1882. The high-resolution, high-cadence satellite images we arranged from NASA's Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) reveal the onset of visibility of Venus's atmosphere and give further information about the black-drop effect, whose causes we previously demonstrated from TRACE observations of a transit of Mercury. The atmosphere is gradually revealed before second contact and after third contact, resulting from the changing depth of atmospheric layers refracting the photospheric surface into the observer's direction. We use Venus Express observations to relate the atmospheric arcs seen during the transit to the atmospheric structure of Venus. Finally, we relate the transit images to current and future exoplanet observations, providing a sort of ground truth showing an analog in our solar system to effects observable only with light curves in other solar systems with the Kepler and CoRoT missions and ground-based exoplanet-transit observations.

Item Type:Article
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Pasachoff, Jay M.0000-0002-4372-4928
Schneider, Glenn0000-0002-4511-5966
Additional Information:© 2011 American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 November 1; accepted 2010 December 2; published 2011 March 1. We thank Karel Schrijver, Ted Tarbell, and other members of the TRACE science and operations teams for their invaluable assistance and efforts in planning and implementing these observations; and Leon Golub at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics for advice on TRACE observations and data. Kayla Gaydosh (then at Bryn Mawr College) assisted with the image calibration and post-processing under a summer research program supported by the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium. David Butts, Joseph Gangestad, and Owen Westbrook also assisted on site in Thessaloniki, Greece, with our coordinated ground-based observations. We thank John Seiradakis of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki for his collaboration. We also thank the Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society for their research grant support for the transit of Venus expedition. Pasachoff’s solar observations were supported in part by Guest Investigator NASA grant NNG04GK44G for work with the TRACE spacecraft and are now supported in part by NASA Marshall grant NNX10AK47A. Pasachoff’s planetary work is supported in part by grant NNX08AO50G from NASA Planetary Astronomy to Williams College. He thanks Michael Brown and the Department of Planetary Science at Caltech for hospitality during the completion of this paper. The Transition Region and Coronal Explorer, TRACE, is a mission of the Stanford-Lockheed Institute for Space Research (a joint program of the Lockheed-Martin Advanced Technology Center’s Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory and Stanford’s Solar Observatories Group), and part of NASA’s Small Explorer program.
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National Geographic SocietyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:history and philosophy of astronomy – occultations – planets and satellites: atmospheres – planets and satellites: general – planets and satellites: individual (Venus)
Issue or Number:4
Classification Code:PACS: 95.55.Pe, 96.30.Ea, 96.12.Jt, 95.10.Gi
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110328-093926651
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Official Citation:Jay M. Pasachoff et al. 2011 The Astronomical Journal 141 112 doi: 10.1088/0004-6256/141/4/112
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:23118
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:28 Mar 2011 21:17
Last Modified:04 Nov 2019 02:34

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