Saturday, 9 June 2012

Transit of Venus 2012

On June 6th this past Wednesday a historical event occurred. Namely the planet Venus would be clearly visible travelling passed our sun. A once in a lifetime event which won't happen again  until 2117. I feared that my camera phone wouldn't get a very good image but that didn't matter as I had technical issues with it in the end anyway. I wasn't too disappointed because just as I expected Twitter was all, well twittery about this, the astronomers of course being especially excited. Therefore I was expecting to see great photo's and I certainly was NOT disappointed. It doesn't matter what field of science you are from or indeed wether you are a scientist or not, who isn't in awe of our magnificent universe? Just as I imagined, thankfully and gratefully, there are many magnificent photographs and indeed YouTube videos of Venus gracefully making her way by the Sun. I love the internet and I think it is absolutely amazing that no matter where you are in the world (almost) you can witness this marvel and document it in some way and then share it with the rest of humanity online.
As I unfortunately didn't capture the moment I have searched the web for some fab pictures. I made a discovery which pleases me and makes me very proud. I didn't know this because even though I love the history of science I am a chemist and not directly involved with any field which does study the universe. My wonderful discovery was that back in 1639 the first transit of Venus was observed by a local (to me) amateur astronomer from Salford named William Crabtree. I found a beautiful painting of him making this very observation and here it is. I wish I could find out who painted it so I could give him proper credit.
There are lots of amazing photo's on the web of Wednesday's transit. Here are some beautiful pix I found on just the first page I looked at. I think this are glorious and I'm sure you dear reader if you've looked have found many more yourself.  I hope you enjoy these anyway

(Credit: Shellee/WV Outpost)



 Facebook has an entire page devoted to this so you can find more gems there

(Credit: Marquez)
(Credit: HD image by NASA Goddard)
For the nerds enquiring minds amongst us
(Credit: NASA)

I'll finish with one of my favourite photo's. I think it looks rather like a scene in a western, perhaps a closing scene with the sun going down. Do you agree or am I wrong? :)

(Credit: Douglas Brown/The Denver Post)

Saturday, 2 June 2012

TEDxSalford review

5 months later but better late than never right? :) I expected great things from this day and I wasn't disappointed. Even the sunshone for the whole event. The entire thing was organised by students from Salford University so well done to them. Every talk was great, every speaker was too. They were so inspirational, some funny but all made you think and some were heartwarming also. The theme was 'we are all explorers' so yes very inspiring. Thank you guys! Whilst I was fascinated by every talk I do have a favourite. Our mystery guest was a NASA astronaut and since learning this I have been excited to know his identity. I never thought it would be colonel Ron Garan with whom I have been following on Twitter for some time (@astroron). At the time he had only been back on earth for 6 months and had some awesome pictures he has taken from space to show us. Whilst a few of the talks on this day were about helping others this one struck a particular chord with me. The colonel spoke of what he calls the 'orbital perspective' there no real boundries really between nations so we should all try to help each other, help the developing countries. It is our responsibility to find solutions to our planets problems, clean water, an end to poverty etc. and all of us can do something. Wonderful , love it. I hope I am playing my part. See my other blog. He is Col. Ron Garan's talk

Also, here is a link to the TEDxSalford Facebook page where you can enjoy all of the talks.

 What's more on 5th April I was lucky enough to attend my second TEDTalk. This was entitled TEDxchangeSalford and was free to attend and took place over half a day. The exciting thing about this was that the second half involved a live link up to Berlin where we were treated to a talk by none other than Melinda Gates and what an amazing and moving talk it was too. Another amazing fact about this link up was that it was streaming live to 200 countries at the same time! I had my camera phone this time but my pictures are not good and unfortunately my mpg of the Berlin talks didn't work. Ah well I shall be more used to my phone by then as its new. I would recommend TEDTalks to anyone if you get the chance to go to one then please do. You will be glad you did. 

I am grateful for any feedback and comments. Thanks for reading and don't be a stranger xxx