ddale51 wrote:Boy, am I confused. Apparently the position and direction of travel of Venus as it crosses the sun varies hugely depending on the location of the observer on Earth. This photo shows Venus traveling across the sun's face in a horizontal position from roughly 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock. But from where I watched the transit--about 38 degrees latitude in the US--Venus began its transit at about the 1:00 position and was traveling "downward" toward the 5:00 position. That's about a 90 degree tangent from this photo! I just can't the visualize how these varying perspectives are possible. Is there a diagram somewhere that can explain this to this confused soul?
Venus traveled from east to west across the northern part of the Sun. The Sun is only tipped about 7° from the ecliptic, and Venus is only inclined a few degrees from it. So it makes sense that in the far north, when the Sun is moving parallel to the horizon, that the ecliptic, and therefore the apparent motion of Venus will be parallel to the horizon as well, with the north pole of the Sun pointing upwards.
The relationship between the direction of Venus's path and the local horizon depends entirely on the latitude of the observer. Like the Moon and other astronomical objects, apparent orientation in the sky varies widely with your location.
Everybody on Earth saw this event just as the chart shows, except they saw the Sun's north pole pointing is some different direction with respect to the horizon.
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