Thursday, June 7, 2012

Transit

I had dinner with my parents on Tuesday at Macaroni Grill. As we sat at the table eating pasta, my dad kept leaning up to glance out the window. I noticed him doing it but it took me a couple times before I finally ask. He said he was checking to see how sunny it was. Dad's an amatuer astronomer and what I didn't know is that the Transit of Venus over the sun was taking place right during dinner. My dad had thought ahead and brought a solar filter.

When he finally noticed the clouds pass, he got up from the table, grabbed his binoculars and solar filter, and headed outside. Within a couple minutes he was back, beaming. After that, we each took a turn taking the filter and the binoculars out to look at the small dark ball passing in front of the sun. With the binoculars I could clearly see Venus and was able to pick up a decent sized sun spot as well. We just had to position the filter at the end of the binoculars and then locate the sun in the binoculars. We could look all we wanted without harming our eyes. It was partly cloudy so we had to time our visits just right. But we each got to see it. The last transit was eight years ago. The next one won't be for 105. I'm just glad Dad gave me the chance to both see and appreciate this rare event.

A NASA composite image of the transit. Love the solar flares below.

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