Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Observing the transit of Venus: a salute to Ana Darcy!

Eclipses of the sun and moon come along every year or so, and they are always news. Millions of people enjoy watching these majestic evidences of the mechanics of the universe.

A similar, much less frequent phenomenon with a long, fascinating history will occur the fifth of this June, not to be seen again in the lifetime of anyone now on Earth, not until 2117: the transit of Venus.

During the transit of Venus, the shadow of that planet, Venus, can be seen (with special equipment) to pass across the face of the sun. See the photo above. It is not as dramatic as a lunar eclipse, but it was a crucial observation for astronomers in the 18th century, who hoped to use the principle of parallax to accurately calculate the distance from the Earth to the sun. More information may be found HERE.

Ana Darcy Méndez, who crossed 25 light years from her home planet Thomo to reach Earth, is naturally interested in celestial matters. (They are integral to her theology as well.)  There will no doubt be many gatherings and parties on June 5, 2012, to observe and commemorate this event, and we invite participants to sip a toast to the brave young woman who crossed a small corner of the universe to join her people with their home planet, Earth. Cheers to you, ma'am!

John Philip Sousa, the March King, wrote a march in honor of the last transit of Venus, in 1882. Ana was delighted to discover this! 

Ana's thoughts on early education and math education

See more music, art, and science in the index in the right column -->

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