Thursday, June 7, 2012

Transit of Venus

I had the privilege of seeing the Transit of Venus the other day. Though most of you are probably aware of this, the Transit of Venus is an event in which the planet Venus passes between the sun and the earth. It happened 8 years ago at dawn and Tuesday, it happened at sunset. This event will not happen again for another 105 years. Naturally, all of the cosmology geeks came out of the woodwork to see this happen, including my brother, his girlfriend and their astronomy teacher, Mr. Sinclair. They kindly invited me to come with them to South Haven by Lake Michigan where Mr. Sinclair and a friend of his had set up their telescopes. It was a rather chilly evening, so we also had the benefit of a beach to ourselves.

I cannot tell you how wonderful I felt it was to be human that evening. It wasn't just the rare astronomical event, but seeing it in juxtaposition with the tiny people next to the vast lake and empty beach. I felt so fortunate to be able to experience the natural universe around me. I think I need to take more time to remember how fortunate I am in that regard.

Here are some pictures I took from that day (some were taken by my brother). That little black dot you see in front of the sun is a planet about the size of ours. Isn't that wild? I told my brother that the sun looked like it had a hole in it and I wished that I could put a string through it and put it around my neck. One of the kids there replied "I think that'd be a bit big". 

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