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The Transit of Venus - Go Space!

Transit of Venus, June 5 2012. Photograph courtesy of NASA.
We watched it from outside our house with a simple pinhole camera that Charong made - but NASA somehow got the better image!

The transit of Venus (Venus passing in front of the sun) occurred on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at about 3pm local time for us in Sonora, California - and while it was hard to see (without blinding yourself!), it was a remarkable event.

Please read this fascinating Guardian article about the transit, which includes this great quote from Fraser Cain, founder of the space website Universe Today:

"Only six [transits] have occurred since the invention of the telescope," Cain said. "It's because of the transit of Venus that we even know how big the solar system is. It's one of the most fundamental observations that have ever been made in the history of astronomy."

It's true that, when I stepped outside our house on Tuesday, I was hoping for something as remarkable as the alignment of the planets in Stanley Kubrick's 2001 - but this was real, not special effects, and sadly I didn't have a view from space...although I'm working on it:)

Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I love space and astronomy, as do our children, and I grew up in an era when the Moon landings and space exploration were truly exciting and inspirational. Hopefully we are entering a new era with the same excitement, with the recent docking of the privately funded SpaceX Dragon craft with the International Space Station (watch this incredible video of the docking).

In the meantime, the transit of Venus was very cool - and won't happen again until December 11, 2117!


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