Saturday, June 30, 2012

Transit of Venus

There were many stunning images of the Transit of Venus captured through Earth-bound telescopes with solar filters, by astronauts using filtered cameras on the International Space Station, and from solar imaging spacecraft.

We watched it through a more primitive apparatus: an optical projector constructed from binoculars, a tripod, cardboard and duct tape (what else?). The image from the projector, while not as crisp as a filtered lens, had the advantage of being much more fun: we projected onto cardboard, our shirts, and even our hands.

As stunning as those other images are, looking at them we still can't help but think: we did that, too.

We'll have the opportunity to do something like it again, when Mercury transits across the Sun in May, 2016.

If we do, it will not only be a humbling celestial event: it will also give us reason to reflect on the transit of our lives in the 4 years since the last planetary transit.