Transit Of Venus, Then And Now

The above video was created by Anthony Misch and William Sheehan using 140 glass-plate negatives taken of the transit of Venus in 1882.

Aside from 2004, 1882 was the last time Venus made it's journey across the sun, from our perspective. And after it's journey tonight at 6pm Eastern Time, it will be the last time until 2117. Recent data suggests that the number of centenarians is on the rise, so some of us might be around to see the next one. Not many, and we'll mistake it for our nephew, but still...

A transit is just a fluke of orbital alignments, in the same way that an eclipse is the moon getting between us and the sun. The Venusian variety always come in pairs, and then reoccur every century, plus some change. The only thing of significance about this transit is it's rarity. Transits in other solar systems, however, are how researchers and astronomers find exoplanets, watching for the wobble in a star's output to indicate that a planet, or other large mass has passed between us and the star. So, the work done by astronomers, including those who took the pictures above 130 years ago, paved the way to discovering planets in solar systems dozens of light years away. And that is the beauty of science.

So, if you're in Asia, the Pacific, or the Western United States, put on your Eclipse Glasses, and have a gander. Otherwise, don't stare at the sun.

Seriously, don't stare at the sun. I shouldn't have to say that, but it bares repeating.

Via The Bad Astonomer.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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