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News Release Archive:

News Release 122 of 961

May 4, 2012 11:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2012-22

Hubble to Use Moon as Mirror to See Venus Transit

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Image: Hubble Shoots The Moon During Venus Transit

Hubble Shoots The Moon During Venus Transit

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During the transit of Venus across the Sun's face on June 5-6, 2012, the Hubble Space Telescope will be looking in the opposite direction — at the Moon. Hubble cannot look at the Sun directly, so astronomers are planning to use the Moon as a mirror to capture reflected sunlight and isolate the small fraction of the light that passes through Venus's atmosphere. Imprinted on that light are the fingerprints of the planet's atmospheric makeup. This is an experiment to see how well Venus's atmosphere can be studied spectroscopically, as a proxy for transit observations of extrasolar planets.

Image Type: Illustration

Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

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