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TRANSIT OF VENUS: A Truly "Once-in-a-lifetime" event!


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Okay kiddies...get your eclipse goggles out!

Beginning around 6:04 p.m. EST/ 3:04 p.m. PST, the planet Venus will travel between the Earth and the Sun. Known as the Transit of Venus, the next one won't occur until 2117, so this it it...your only chance!

It lasts 6 hours...so far here in Los Angeles the sky is clear, so we should get a good look at it...I'm heading up to the Griffith Observatory right now. I'm hoping to get my sister-in-law to bring my nephew along.

Here's the info: http://www.transitofvenus.org/

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I'm fortunate, stationed in the western Pacific. My Thai workers combined a #5 and a #10 welding glass together and I've been watching it for the last two and a half hours. Right now it's at the 8 o'clock position. I really didn't think we could see it without magnification, but there it is!

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Howdy folks. A little Venus music from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic while you read and look at the pictures:

Well, I had a blast. I missed the eclipse that happened on May 20...spaced it out somehow. So I was glad I read the news about the Transit of Venus in time. Unfortunately I had to go alone...most of my friends and family were either at work or they're out-of-town. I couldn't even take my little nephew as my sister-in-law was at work all day and didn't get my text until it was too late in the day.

Took the subway to Sunset and Vermont Blvds. and hiked the rest of the way up Vermont through Los Feliz, past the Greek Theatre and onwards and upwards to the Griffith Park Observatory...known to most folk as where scenes from "Rebel Without a Cause" were filmed. There is even a bust of James Dean with a plaque honouring him at the Observatory. The hike took a little longer than I planned...about an hour or so...so I arrived past the official start time of 3:04 p.m. PST.

Throngs of people were there and more arriving by the minute, either by car, bicycle or hiking in from the various trails that lead to the Observatory. You can even hike from the Hollywood sign at Mt. Lee to the Observatory if you want. Lots of kids...lots of dogs...lots of TV news vans. I think I even walked behind one CBS reporter as she was filming her report.

Sky was blue...no clouds, a slight breeze, sunny and 79° F. Lines were already long for the various telescopes and viewing stations set up; some by the Observatory and some by the many amateur astronomers that made the trek. I got a pair of solar shades from the Observatory so I could look at the sun myself, without waiting in line. I even snapped a photo with the glasses in front of my camera lens for a point-of-view shot. I'll attach it along with other photos below. It's the one where the sun appears like an orange dot.

The sun set at 8:04 p.m. yesterday, which is when it was over for those of us in Southern California...once the sun disappears from view, there's no Transit to see. But I stayed til the bitter end and took some more shots of the sun setting and the city lights beginning to illuminate the gloaming. Then, it was another hike back to the subway station, a little quicker as I was now going downhill.

All told, I spent roughly 5 hours at the Observatory, from 3:30pm to 8:30pm. Some of that time was spent listening to a couple of the science talks and lectures presented for the purpose of explaining the Transit of Venus and why and how it was an important tool in gathering information, especially in regards to the Kepler Mission.

I also saw the original planetarium projector that they used to use for their shows(also seen in "Rebel Without a Cause"). Since the Observatory was revamped, they have a new planetarium show, and the old projector is now on display.

Here's some photos I took of the Transit of Venus, along with a few others around the Observatory.






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Venus passing in front of the sun was okay I guess. It's a rare sight for sure!

When I was in college in Austin, back in the 70's, the night I got to look at the planet Jupiter through the Department of Astronomy's Painter Hall Telescope, I got to see one of Jupiter's moons traversing the big planet, and casting it's moon shadow down on Jupiter. Now that was awesome ! ! !

History of the 9-inch telescope

The 9-inch telescope has a long history with the University. The lens in the telescope is actually older than the tube, mount and dome and was ground a little before the turn of the 20th century by the John A. Brashear company -- one of the finest lens makers of the time. The tube and mount were made by the Warner and Swasey Company of Cleveland and was placed in Painter Hall when the building was constructed in the early 1930s. The dome appears green from the outside because of its high copper content, which oxidizes to a patina similar to the color seen on the Statue of Liberty. The inside has been painted but in areas where the paint has chipped, the brilliant original copper can be glimpsed. Unlike most modern telescopes, no electricity is required to operate the clock drive on the telescope. Instead, the drive is wound up to raise a weight which will drop throughout the evening and turn the drive gears.


Probably observing the Jester Center Women's Dorm :ph34r:

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