Venus Transit

Yesterday was the transit of Venus in front of the sun, and if you missed it, you really missed it as the next transit won’t happen until 2117. Los Angeles is notoriously bad for many celestial events, since most are seen at night and we have awful light pollution. For once, with this daylight occurrence, we had prime viewing conditions and I knew I could not miss it. I headed up to the Griffith Observatory before sunset, with countless other people, to see the tiny planet cross the surface of the sun.

I have always been fascinated by space; the complete unknown held in it’s distance and intangible beauty. In another life, one in which I was better at physics, I could easily see myself studying the planets. The experience of seeing this tiny dot cross in front of a glowing orb affected me intensely. Just a little dot, really a planet nearly the size of our own, traveling in front of the all powerful sun. The magnitude is difficult to put into words. Instead I’ll recommend that you watch Melancholia, Tree of Life and 2001:A Space Odyssey for maybe a glimpse into what I’m talking about.

There was also something great about congregating with all these other people to see it. Many of the telescopes that were set up for viewing were brought by friends of the observatory. I have so much appreciation for these people who sat out in the sun and shared their equipment with the masses so that everyone could see. I loved seeing all the various telescopes and assorted ways of capturing the event. The most astounding view for me was a binocular telescope that allowed you to see a three dimensional image of the sun in excruciating detail.

I shall end this with this stunning video of the entire transit. Were you able to see it?

4 Responses to “Venus Transit”
  1. Rachelle says:

    I didn’t see it, but I totally understand what you mean. I took an astronomy class for a required science credit in college and it was so completely fascinating and wonderful.

  2. Kelly says:

    It was cloudy here in Madison, so we didn’t see it in person. Glad you got such a lovely chance to watch it. 🙂

  3. jacqueline says:

    I wanted to see it, but didn’t know exactly how to see it. Obviously I couldn’t exactly look straight at the sun at 6 p.m. I found out about it on NPR at about 5:45. Had I had a little more time, perhaps I could have searched out a group getting together here in Fargo that had the proper equipment. Oh well. Thank you for posting that video!

  4. Cortnie says:

    Alas, I did not get to witness this event but I did just recently watch Melancholia which was so beautiful it kind of blew me away.


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