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Transit of Venus

  1. Dec 4, 2015 #1
    A transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when thplanet"etVenus passes directly between the Sun and a superior planet, becoming visible against (and hence obscuring a small portion of) the solar disk. During a transit, Venus can be seen from Earth as a small black disk moving across the face of the Sun. ..,Wikipedia.

    My question is why "Venus passes directly between the Sun and a superior planet" not only passes between earth and the Sun.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2015 #2

    DaveC426913

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    Gold Member

    Earth, being in a higher solar orbit, is a superior planet to Venus.

    Not sure I understand exactly what your question is. Do you mean 'why are the following two sentences not synonymous'?
    Venus makes a transit as seen by a superior planet
    and
    Venus makes a transit as seen from Earth.

    Well, technically, Venus also makes a transit as seen from Mars as well. So they're not exactly synonymous, though they are for our purposes here on Earth.

    The meaning of the word is buried in the history of the terms:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferior_and_superior_planets#History
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  4. Dec 5, 2015 #3
    Planets which are nearer to the Sun than Earth is (Venus and Mercury) can be sometimes aligned so that we see them passing across the Sun.
    For planets which are more distant from the Sun than Earth is, this is not possible/
     
  5. Dec 5, 2015 #4

    Bandersnatch

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    Science Advisor

    Because you can see a transit of planet A from any planet B that is in a higher orbit around the star.
     
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