Diagram of how Hubble will use the Moon to mirror the transit of Venus across the surface of the Sun (Image: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild)
Because of this narrow window, astronomers have already determined which part of the moon's surface to focus upon. A dramatic image captured on January 11 this year shows the location in question, around impact crater Tycho (Photo: NASA, ESA, and D. Ehrenreich)
A scale view of the Tycho impact crater site where Hubble will focus its gaze (Image: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay)
Hubble's sensitive instruments are designed to capture images such as the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field which contains an estimated 10,000 galaxies, some more than 13 billion years old (Image: NASA, ESA)
The departing Space Shuttle Atlantis captured this image of the Hubble Space Telescope during a maintenance mission which saw the installation of the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the Wide Field Camera 3 (Photo: NASA)
From Earth's perspective, on June 5 and 6, Venus will pass across the face of the Sun. By observing the tiny fraction of sunlight that passes through Venus's atmosphere using the Hubble Space Telescope, it is hoped that the planet's atmospheric makeup can be determined. Though we already know the nature of Venus's atmosphere, it is hoped the event will help astronomers hone techniques, already in use, that may one day help to identify Earth-like planets in far-away solar systems. The catch? Hubble cannot observe the Sun directly. Instead it will look at the Moon to observe reflected light.
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