As soon as I first heard about this year's Transit of Venus (I heard this several weeks ago now), I immediately ordered a bunch of special glasses to share with my family and friends (see my blog Get ready for a sight you’ll never see again…)
All this past weekend and all day Monday, the skies here were really overcast. Similarly, on Tuesday morning – the day of the great event – the sky was covered in thick, gray clouds. As you can imagine, when I posted my blog yesterday (see Transit of Venus – Help us recreate a scientific experiment), I was actually wearing my sad face.
When I arrived home, I went into the back garden with our two dogs (Henri and Lili – or stupid dog #1 and #2 as I tend to think of them in my own mind) and two cats (Rocket and Skitty – or stupid cat #1 and #2 as I tend to refer to them when my wife [Gina the Gorgeous] is out of earshot :-)
On the bright side, bits of blue sky were visible here and there. On the down side these bits of blue sky were not in the same place as the setting sun as shown below:
We must have looked quite a sight – the animals and I – all looking hopefully at the sky, each of us wearing our protective glasses.
I'm joking of course. I had thought that this would make a wonderful photo-opportunity, and I did have some spare glasses, but the beasts were having nothing to do with it (Henri indicated that the glasses clashed with his Hawaiian shirt and Rocket is simply too cool to be seen in anything less than designer shades).
I was starting to lose hope, when … could it be … dare we hope... YES! … the clouds started to part and the sun began to appear:
Just at this moment I noticed that our neighbor Sammy was sitting on his back porch watching me watching the sky, so I called him over, explained what was going on, and gave him a pair of glasses.
I was actually amazed just how dark the glasses were – you couldn’t see anything through them at all apart from the sun. I was also amazed by just how clear the sun was through the glasses. The picture below was taken using my iPhone looking through my protective glasses:
At first we were looking for Venus at the bottom of the sun, because that was how I had seen it depicted in all of the photographs I had seen. Also, there were still wisps of cloud passing in front of the sun, so we couldn’t see anything apart from the sun itself. But then…. HURRAY
… the final vestiges of cloud disappeared and the dark spot of Venus was plain to see.
If the truth be told, the image below is the same as the one above. I added the dark spot myself using Paint.net
, but "cross-my-heart" this is just what it looked like with my naked (protected) eye.
I was worried that Gina was going to miss the occasion because she was working late, but she just made it in time to join me and Sammy and see Venus for herself.
I know that – in the larger scheme of things – it wouldn’t have mattered if we had missed seeing this Transit of Venus. One can find wonderful images of it on the Internet. But having said this, it was a real thrill to see it for myself, especially knowing that no human will see this sight again for more than 100 years…
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