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Petals of Venus: The Fascinating Geometry Behind Planetary Motions

In a nutshell, if you plot the Venusian trajectory for eight years with the Earth as the center, you get a geometric poem that reminds us that everything in the cosmos is perfect.

When Venus is observed not from a heliocentric, but from a geocentric perspective, an amazing phenomenon called the ‘Petals of Venus’ occurs, which describes a cosmic dance between the Earth and its neighbor.

If you look closely at the trajectories of the planets and the cosmic dances they undergo concerning the Earth, you will discover that the Solar System is geometry in its purest state. Hence, many cultures in antiquity have associated planetary cycles with sacred geometry and, the Maya, in particular, paid much attention to the cycle of Venus illustrated in the Dresden Codex and associated it with Kukulkan.

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What Are the ‘Petals of Venus’?

To better understand the mysterious trajectory marked by the cosmic dance between our planet and Venus that we call ‘Petals of Venus,’ we must first understand some concepts such as inferior planetary conjunction and what is a cycle or synodic period.

Venus is an inferior planet, which means that it is closer to the Sun than the Earth, and therefore, together with Mercury, are the only two planets that experience the so-called inferior conjunctions. Inferior conjunction is when either of these two planets comes between the Earth and the Sun, aligning with our planet and the Major Star. On the contrary, superior conjunction is given by the alignment between the planet, the Sun, and the Earth, but this time with the Sun in between, which means that the planet will be diametrically opposed to ours.

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On the other hand, the synodic cycle refers to the time it takes for an object to reappear in the same position in the Earth’s sky, as the Sun. In that sense, the synodic cycle of Venus is the time it takes to position itself almost exactly at the same point in our perspective of the celestial vault and has a duration of 584 days.

The Maya were extensively interested in the Venusian synodic cycle and managed to decipher that throughout the period, Venus spends 263 days as the morning star (western elongation), 50 days absent by the Sun’s rays, 263 as the evening star (eastern elongation) and is hidden for 8 days. Following this pattern, in 8 years, or what is equal to 13 Venusian orbits, Venus and the Earth come into conjunction a total of ten times, but only five of these are inferior conjunctions, and five are superior conjunctions. It is precisely these conjunctions that weave the mysterious phenomenon known as the ‘Petals of Venus.’

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In the video below, you can see the simulation of Venus’ motion for a total of 8 years with a geocentric view. You can see how Venus approaches and moves away from the Earth by drawing a flower with five petals. The closest points of each petal represent the lower conjunctions, and the outermost parts of the flower are given by the five upper conjunctions of Venus and our planet.

Understanding the ‘Petals of Venus’ loom can be complicated, but once you know the proper terms it becomes much simpler. In a nutshell, if you plot the Venusian trajectory for eight years with the Earth as the center, you get a geometric poem that reminds us that everything in the cosmos is perfect.

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Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera

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