Venus, our planetary buddy and frequent evening and/or morning “star,” is in the news these days.
Venus de Milo. Photo: Wikipedia.
No, wait. This ain’t it.
False color radar image of the surface of the planet Venus. Photo: JPL/NASA.
There’s a little black spot on the Sun today. - The Police, “King of Pain” (1983)
Transit of Venus as seen from New Delhi, 2004. Photo: Postnoon.
Ahhh, here we are. The Transit of Venus, one of the rarest predictable astronomical phenomena.
It’s a twice-in-a-lifetime event at best, when the planet Venus is seen to march across the blazing disc of the Sun. The last one was in June 2004... but the one before that was back in December 1882, back when Chester Alan Arthur was in the White House.
The next one will be in December 2117, and it’s a pretty safe bet that nobody I know will be around to see it. Meanwhile, I’m hoping that the clouds around our little corner of the world will cooperate and allow us to get a glimpse. Now, where did I put that #14 welder’s glass?
Update: No welder’s glass, but by using binoculars to project an image of the Sun onto a white background, I was able to catch a fleeting glimpse of Venus in transit before thickening clouds closed in and obscured the solar disc.