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)

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