The 2012 Transit of Venus
Twice in a person’s lifetime, and only twice (and maybe only once) one gets to see, with the aid of a suitable telescope or sun projector, the planet Venus move across the face of the Sun, between it and the Earth. With modern equipment these days, fantastic imagery and science can be done.
Traditionally, this event has been used to calibrate the distance between the Earth and the Sun. I was fortunate to view the transit that occurred in June of 2004, and here, 8 years later, I managed to squeek it in again. Twice in a lifetime.
So what’s the big deal, you say…. Well, the orbits of Venus and the Earth are eccentrically placed so that the transits, as viewed from earth, have an odd frequency of re-occurrence – two transits spaced 8 years apart, and then not again for 105 years, then two again 8 years apart… It won’t be back again when anybody alive will see it…. Here’s the beginning of tonight’s, just after “second contact”*
You can see a couple of pictures of the 2004 transit, as well as my telescopes, here.