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Activity:

  Simulate a Transit of Venus    

 simulate-zoom.jpg (22360 bytes) sunsim-zoom2.jpg (24025 bytes)

Simulate the transit of Venus to show that the black dot seen against the sun is actually the silhouette of Venus in the foreground.  Move a ball across the face of a uniform light source to establish that the black spot is the planet itself and not a shadow on the sun.  Try to recreate the  "black drop" effect

Version 1: Make a Bucket Sun

Version 2: Use Your Computer Monitor

 

Version 1: Make a Bucket Sun

 

simulate-aside.jpg (20193 bytes) simulate-front.jpg (1066542 bytes) simulate-zoom.jpg (22360 bytes) Here we put a bright light behind the removed bottom of a paint bucket.  The top of the bucket has a tight sheet of rear projection screen material across it.  This spreads the light out evenly so the light's filament is not shining directly in the viewer's eye.  A bead on the end of a stiff wire represents the planet Venus between the sun and the viewer.

dsc01481.jpg (20892 bytes) The bucket we used is part of the Transit of Venus (TV) Screen constructed at a 2003 GLPA Conference workshop.  

 

Version 2: Use Your Computer Monitor

Download a picture of the sun and display it on your computer monitor.  Mount a small ball on a wire and move it across the screen.  Pick a part of the image that does not have a jagged edge of pixels, where the solar limb is well-defined.  Try to simulate the "black drop" effect between the ball and the edge of the sun.

sun040121.gif (371441 bytes) sun040121.gif  Download this image from SOHO (ESA & NASA).

sunsum-wire.jpg (26902 bytes) sunsim-wire.jpg

Dsc01956.jpg (1397784 bytes) sunsim-zoom.jpg

sunsim-zoom2.jpg (24025 bytes) sunsim-zoom2.jpg

 

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Copyright 2003-2008 Chuck Bueter.  All rights reserved.