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Tag Archives: solar system

Ludi Saeculares: the Transit of Venus

On June 5 (or June 6, depending on which time zone you are in) of 2012, Venus will be seen from the Earth passing over the disk of the Sun. This is not only a rare event, but also one which has been of great historical importance in figuring out how big the Solar System […]

space is big [try it]

Astronomical numbers are difficult for human minds to grasp. And one of concepts I have had the most difficulty in conveying is that space is big. It is really really big. Even the solar system, which is quite minuscule compared to, say, the size of the Milky Way, is mindbogglingly big. And empty. There is […]

Venusian day [Q&A]

Vibha of Poornaprajna PU College asks, why is the Venusian day longer than its year? Venus takes ≈225 days to revolve around the Sun, but takes ≈243 days to rotate around its axis. What is more, it rotates backwards, along an axis that is opposite to the orbital rotation axis, so compared to North as […]

planetary orbital rotation [Q&A]

Vigneshwar of Poornaprajna College asks, what is the reason that the Earth and other planets revolve anti-clockwise around the Sun? The interesting thing is not that they revolve anti-clockwise, but that they all go in the same direction. The sense of the rotation is a convention decided upon simply for the sake of definiteness. If […]