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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hey Venus, Oh Venus**

This afternoon, I got to see the "most exciting, transformative rare celestial happening ever" (or at least since the super moon and various eclipses of the past month) through a convenient 11-inch telescope available on campus.  Through it I got to observe (but was unable to photograph) the rare Venus Transit which I will now forever and fondly remember as a black Sharpie pen dot on the skin of a very ripe and radioactive tangerine.  That's exactly what the view through the scope looked like.  Much better images than I could have photographed are available here and compliments of NASA, the best animation and false-color agency in the world.

According to a lot of buzz on the more astrological and supernatural parts of the web, the transit is associated with the return of the Divine Feminine and Aphrodite, Goddess of Love (who according to the lectures I'm listening to right now is not EXACTLY the goddess of love, but more the sexual rapture part of the equation;the Venus Transit is thus a kind of New Age Rapture).  How some people will attribute legendary significance to this bit of synchronized clockwork in the sky.

Mark Your Calendar!

Curiously, at about noon, just before the transit started, my own current dreary mood suddenly abated. I had an uplifting chat with a colleague, a professor of history, about decay and death and global warming and zoo pandas and our insignificant place in the universe, although my mood was probably elevated because I had just completed a difficult draft of a document that has an imminent deadline (with drop dead dates and all that.) After a little lunch, I was more than prepared to watch a tiny uninhabitable planet get in the way of our own direct view of the sun.

Never mind that the transit looked nothing like the image above.  We stood in line in blazing heat for a chance to peer at our nearest neighbor's day in the sun.  And then returned to our air-conditioned offices to look at on-line images, which were much more dramatic.  Still, I can say I was there for something that won't occur again for another 105 years. 
Lining up for the alignment.

Better than a pinhole camera or special glasses

Pretty much what I saw through the scope.(From 2004 transit.)
So, nothing else much on the horizon until my birthday when another big celestial alignment is set to occur.  I hope it doesn't mean I'm to be sacrificed or something!
Giza, Dec. 3, 2012.
**And now, in honor of Venus, something else that won't come around again for a long time:

"Hey, Venus
Oh, Venus...
...Venus, make her fair
A lovely girl with sunlight in her hair
And take the brightest stars up in the skies
And place them in her eyes for me
Venus, goddess of love that you are
Surely the things I ask
Can't be too great a task."

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