Reub's journey

07 June 2012

Venus goes past the sun

So yesterday was the transit of Venus, in which teeny-tiny Venus crossed between the earth and the sun just like it does in a sequence that occurs every 243 years. Two hundred and forty three years is nothing to a planet. It's little more than a sneeze contained in your whole lifetime. Why didn't I watch this the first time it happened in my lifetime, in 2004? Because I knew it would happen again 8 years later, and I was so confident that I would be around to see it? No, I think I just wasn't paying attention, as usual. Or maybe it wasn't visible here in Oregon; I don't remember at all.

 Today NASA came out with this super cool video of Venus-transit-shots. Scary in places. The sun!! It's a ginormous terrifying place of hell-fire, and little Venus just goes past, la la la, like there's nothing unusual at all. Or maybe Venus is like me, when I try to run up the driveway barefoot in August: ow ow ow ow ow ow whew glad I don't hafta do that for another 243 years. Venus is a closer neighbor of the sun though, so maybe it's more like hey Sun, how ya doin, hey look at that, the Earth is here too, whazzup?

 John learned (from one of his grad students) an easy way to watch the transit. Aim a pair of binoculars from the sun to a sheet of paper in a box (ok, we used a wastebasket).

Can you see little Venus? This made me so happy. Not as good as NASA's shots. But on the other hand it looks like Bart Simpson's eyeballs and that's worth something.

 Oh man I played with this link for a long time this afternoon. It begins with a hummingbird's egg and goes sooooooooooo far in either direction. The scale of our universe is crazy.

 Thanks to Hilary at The Smitten Image for giving this post a nice nod.


  1. Love your commentary. When faced with our small powerless mortality...turn the planets and stars into dudes.

  2. you made me laugh oodles of times. :)

  3. Laoch: Isn't that a wonderful video? Makes me think it would be an amazing job, that of a NASA photographer.

    Tabor: We are so small. It's best for me to imagine them as people, although the reality is quite different.

    twg: You also make me laugh, especially with your squirrel series.

  4. What! I'm in the side bar? That must make me famous right? And yes add the jelly before baking the cookies. Or just eat raw cookie dough Whatever.

  5. I love this video and was going to post it on my Monday blog.
    I have watch it so many times the images and music just rips into my heart with wonder.
    I just looked back on your blog post
    I love making homemade crackers.

    Where are you going to be in Japan ? It will be the rainy season and it is awful. Muggy, wet, hot, steamy and hot. And that just the good days.
    Get the ice coffee ! the only thing that saves me.
    I love Japan and have friends and family living there and visit Osaka often. I would like to live there part of the year but not in the summer.

    I love the idea of you teaching calligraphy. What a wonderful way to get your class to think and learn to use their hands and mind together.

    My son is an English teacher who teaches Junior High and High School classes at a private girls school and collage prep classes.

    Have a lovely weekend
    cheers, parsnip

  6. ap: It is a great video, well worth re-watching.

    We'll be in Japan from June21-July6 and yeah I know the weather will be icky, all hot and humid. But that's when John has a meeting in Akita, where we'll stay for a week. Then Kyoto and finally Tokyo. Do you speak some Japanese?

    I will be sure to try the iced coffee!

  7. I don't speak Japanese but when I am there what little I know improves.
    I have started and stopped Rosetta Stone several times... le sigh... what really helps me is the constant hearing of the language.
    All my children speak several languages but I don't seem to have the ability.
    I enjoy Tokyo it is exciting but a bit formal. I like the relaxed feeling in Osaka, the people are really fun. Especially the Osaka grandmothers who are a group all there own.What a hoot.
    You seem to know what will be expected weather wise.
    Kyoto is very beautiful.
    Iced coffee is a must !

    cheers, parsnip

  8. Never heard of the binocular idea...but it was cloudy here anyway. :(

  9. ap: We're trying to pick a little Japanese via Pimsleur, but I know it will be pitiful.

    I would love to see gangs of Japanese grandmothers! I hope there are some in Kyoto!

    I think I need to get a hat for the sun.

    Rebecca: It was a new method for us too: it worked! The pic is blurry b/c the image was a bit jiggly. Much clearer in real life.

    It's crazy that rainy Oregon had a sunny afternoon and the east coast was under clouds.

  10. Mrs Tuna: I'm gonna try those cookies raw. Great idea.

  11. Humour and science. It doesn't get much better than this. You've got that whole connectivity thing going just right. Nicely put together, Kerry.

  12. I expect we were sitting under a cloud. Literally.

    Thanks for the video, and your commentary; now I can go to bed happy.

  13. as most of the others have noted your commentary is brilliant
    congrats on POTW

  14. i came back to say congrats on your POTW! :)

  15. Congrats on POTW! This was indeed a fun post. Made me giggle. :)


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