Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Viewing the Venus Transit

Making big news yesterday was the transit of Venus across the sun. With my love for Science (and because I hate to miss all the action), I rearranged my plans on Tuesday to see the event. The transit was set to begin at 5:04p in Chicago. The evening was perfectly clear with not a cloud in the sky and the weather was gorgeous. Unfortunately, that meant that everyone in the city decided to head to the planetarium. By the time I got there, the telescopes that were set up outside had lines wrapping from one corner of the building to the other and everywhere in between. We squeezed in the shortest line available. And then, with much anticipation, we peered through the filter (telescope lines were so long we wouldn't have been able to see it in time) and focused on the tiny pin hole appearing over the sun (as the docent explained it was the same size as the Earth). Incredible. And even more incredible:  All the people getting a glimpse of this small marvel from Sydney to Bahrain to Chicago and everywhere in between.

Today a coworker shared a link to some very cool photos from around the world here. I'm thinking that it would have been pretty amazing to see it through a telescope. Of course, if I had been more prepared I could have had nearly as much fun taking pictures of the crowd, that was quite a spectacle in itself.