Thursday, June 7, 2012

Venus Passes Before the Sun - Next Show: 2117

It was reported on local early news that a camera shop was selling eclipse viewing glasses which allow people to safely look directly at the sun.  The glasses were necessary in order to witness Venus passing between earth and the sun.  So, I made a trip to get a pair of Eclipse Glasses.  They look like the olde tyme paper glasses handed out at the 3D movies in the 1950's, except the film in them is so dark that nothing is visible through them except the sun.

I had my doubts as to whether I would be able to see Venus with my less than perfect eyesight.  Late in the afternoon I drove up the road to get a clear view of the setting sun.  I donned the fashionable glasses and fixed my mortal gaze upon the nearest star.  And yes, through the magic glasses, there was a perfect black circle appearing on the face of the sun - visible proof, a tiny little tick in the spinning gears of the physical universe.  There may be a few children here today who will be alive in 2117 to witness the next transit of Venus across the sun, but most of us will be long gone.  It puts things in perspective.

This photo is from the most wonderful web site in the world:  Astronomy Picture of the Day.  "Occurring in pairs separated by over a hundred years, there have now been only eight transits of Venus since the invention of the telescope in 1608." Quoted from APOD.
Venus Transit 2012
Image Credit &
Copyright: Chris Hetlage

To see many stunning photos of the Venus transit, go here:
(Especially look for the photos posted by Neil Winston.)

No comments: