Off Topic: Transit of Venus

These are all of the old posts from the first two years of the forum. They are locked.
Updated: 2005-03-28 by HoloM (the god)
DJ Mathson

Off Topic: Transit of Venus

Post by DJ Mathson »

Today was the Venus transit. Last seen year 1882. The next will be 2012 and thereafter 2117. Historically the transit was used to try to calculate the solar parallax and the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

This is off topic but I think the Venus transit is such a great historical scientific event. Astronomical fenomenas like the Venus transit brought forth the development of optical technology and science. Without it, lasers and holography might never have evolved....

When I woke up today I felt very dissappointed. The Venus transit was supposed to be seen, but when I looked out of the window the sky was grey and it was raining. The transit was going to be between 07:19 and 13:22 local time. The weather was really gloomy, but finally at noon the clouds were swept away by the wind. I rushed out with binoculars, aluminized plastic film and my digital camera to try to see the ending of the transit. It was beeaauutiful to see Venus in front of the Sun with the naked eye, or allmost naked eye since without the alu plastic film I would have burnt my cones and rods away. I also photographed the transit. The shots are a bit blurry since it is not easy to get steady shots with a handheld 190 mm tele camera through handheld 8x42 binoculars. But at least I caught the event on CCD. You can see some of the pictures below.

Long live science.

We are now on the eve of the second transit of a pair, after which there will be no other till the twenty-first century of our era has dawned upon the earth, and the June flowers are blooming in 2004. When the last transit season occurred the intellectual world was awakening from the slumber of ages, and that wondrous scientific activity which has led to our present advanced knowledge was just beginning. What will be the state of science when the next transit season arrives God only knows. Not even our children's children will live to take part in the astronomy of that day. As for ourselves, we have to do with the present ...

William Harkness, 1882

Mark C

Off Topic: Transit of Venus

Post by Mark C »

July first there is going to be another big event.


Off Topic: Transit of Venus

Post by Dinesh »

Beauutiful pics! I'm envious! We in the Western US couldn't see it.
By the way, the relationship between lasers and astronomy may have another dimension to it. The theory of Stimulated Emission was first put forward by Einstein in 1917 but it was not thought possible to make a device using this phenomena. In the 50's Project Ozma was created to find intelligent life in the universe. The idea was to try and listen for radio signals at the 21cm wavelength (approx microwave). This wavelength was chosen because spectrum of Hydrogen contains the 21cm line and Hydrogen is the most prolific substance in the universe. However, they needed an intense source of 21cm radiation and there was none at the time. They therefore dusted off Einsteins 1917 paper on Stimulated Emission and created the MASER (Microwave Amplification ...). Townes and Maiman wondered if it was possible to create an optical version, a LASER (Light Amplification...). There was no other reason than pure research curiosity whether or not it was possible to make an optical analogue of the MASER. So, you see, aliens are responsible for more than just abductions....