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Planetarium Activity

Turn off the horizon and daylight displays on the top toolbar. Using the “Settings” button, set the orientation to Equatorial. Use the “Planet” Palette to center the display on the Sun and lock on the Sun. Set the field to 100°. Find Venus on the display and, with the Selection Tool, click on Venus to display its name. This will help you keep track of the location of Venus relative to the Sun. Set the date to January 1, 2006. Set the step size to 1 day and start the clock. When Venus passes the Sun, stop the clock and step back and forth until Venus and the Sun are in conjunction. Using the Selection Tool, point the arrow at Venus to display its distance from the Earth. Record the date and the distance of Venus. Restart the clock and repeat for the next three conjunctions of Venus. Using your data, decide which conjunctions are superior conjunctions and which are inferior conjunctions. Calculate the time interval between successive superior conjunctions and between successive inferior conjunctions. How do these time intervals compare with the synodic period of Venus?

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