Do you recall my blog from a few weeks ago titled Get ready for a sight you'll never see again? (Click Here to see that blog).
This blog discussed the fact that the next Transit of Venus (when we can see the planet Venus passing across the face of the Sun) will occur on June 5 or 6, 2012, depending on your location.
Observers in North America see it on the evening of June 5 which is THIS EVENING as I pen these words. This is something we dont want to miss, because it will be the last transit of Venus to occur in our lifetimes. These things come in pairs separated by eight years, and the next such pair wont occur until December 2117 and December 2125.
In his review of the book The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes (Click Here to see this review), my friend Aubrey Kagan notes that the first chapter of the book is devoted to the first scientific expedition to view the Transit of Venus astronomical phenomenon. Led by Captain Cook, the expedition included one Joseph Banks, a man who would distinguish himself in the service of science for many years.
The thing is that I just received an email from Alwyn Nixon-Lloyd, who says:
Hi Max, Firstly, I always enjoy reading your editorials at the start of your newsletters. They're always interesting.
I hope I haven't left it too late to write to you, but one of my friends has created a very nice little webpage app that will re-create one of the early large scale scientific experiments to calculate the size of the Astronomical Unit, using the transit of Venus.
It basically uses twitter posts to log when people see the start and the finishing times of the transit, as well as the geo-tagging facilities of twitter to enable the location to be logged.
Would it be possible to give the page a plug in one of your editorials?
Well, what can I say? I think this is a GREAT idea. Full instructions are given on the Transit2012 webpage. All you have to do is to use Twitter to Tweet when you see the transit begin and/or end as shown below:
The site also gives instructions about GeoTagging
your Tweets (it's important for the math to know where you are) and tells of a related phone app.
I have my special glasses at the ready (do NOT
look directly at the sun with your naked eyes) and I cannot wait
I just hope the cloud cover that is currently in the sky dissipates before the event occurs
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