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[personal profile] krpalmer
It had been cloudy for days before, and I kept an eye on the weather yesterday morning with some trepidation. As I'd started to notice being pointed out again, Venus was going to transit the sun in the evening. This wouldn't happen again for over a century, a rather long time to wait. While I'd seen the 2004 transit the morning it happened before leaving for work, the thought of managing to see it twice was appealing.

As the morning wore on into afternoon, though, things cleared up, and by the time I got back from work the sky was just about clear. I took my little binoculars and hurried to cut out a cardboard shield for them, then headed for the high school where I'd managed to hear the local astronomy society would be holding a public viewing.

Finding the long line of variegated telescopes, each with its own protective solar filter, I started waiting with everyone else. Right at the time I'd heard it would happen, people started noticing a little chip at the edge of the sun. After a while, the whole disc had moved on to the sun's face. While it wasn't the easiest thing to get the binoculars pointed just right, other people did notice what I'd done as they waited their own turns at the telescopes.

I suppose I might have needed the example to be reminded of how small Venus looked against the sun; the image my binoculars could project on a white card wasn't large, but the shadow of Venus was just large enough to look round. Things were more magnified through the telescopes. I also managed to borrow somebody's eclipse-viewing glasses (declared safe on the frames with the aid of an astronomy magazine), and through them the speck was detectable.

As time wore on, though, all of a sudden an outcropping of cloud nobody seemed to have quite noticed before got between us and the sun. Catching one more glimpse through my binoculars, I had a sense of how little of the sun's disc needs to be exposed to cast sharp shadows. Then, I headed inside the school's gymnasium to see a webcast from Hawaii. It had been easy enough to contemplate changes between 1882 and 2004, but I suppose watching some of the people (many young) watching snapping pictures of the projected webcast with the cameras in their phones might have pointed out the passage of time in a certain way as well. When I wandered back out again, the sun also happened to break out from the clouds, and I was able to see the transit through my own apparatus again. After the clouds moved in again, though, I decided it was more or less time to leave. Having the maximum number of transits observed isn't something to boast about too much, of course, but I'm glad I had the chance. Hopefully, there'll be people in the next century with their own chances to see it.

Date: 2012-06-07 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thrush
I'm glad you go to see this! A friend and I were really looking forward to it but unfortunately where we live there was heavy cloud-cover by the time the transit began. So, sadly, it looks like I missed my chance to see this event. I'll just have to console myself with early childhood memories of Halley's Comet. (I guess that dates me! ^_^)
Edited Date: 2012-06-07 10:49 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-08 01:13 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thrush
Thanks for the picture link!

To be honest I recall the viewing place and the large, imposing-seeming telescopes more than the comet itself. But, it was still cool!

I also agree about there being something special about seeing it yourself.

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