#966 Rare astronomical events like the Transit of Venus

As kids, the first film theatre we were exposed to were the skies. We learnt to relish the drama played out by the elephants and the lions, amongst the humongous clouds and so did we enjoin the romance of the twinkling starry skies. When your grandma or that loved school teacher narrated how constellations were formed, fingers pointed at those heavenly bodies, that was the first version of Star Wars.

As time passed by, we learnt how stuff worked; the epic battle that an eclipse was, transformed into a celestial shadow-play. When those curious eyes met the rings of Saturn through a telescopic lens, a magnificient world was magnified in front of us. When someone asked,”What do you want to become as a grown-up, son?” we unanimously said “An astronaut!

It was at such a point of time in my life in 2004, when I was a twelve year old, that I heard about the Venus Transit. That it occurred only twice in long gaps of centuries, and that it was much cooler than a normal eclipse. I used love drawing sky-charts, peeping through my mini-telescope and archiving newspaper snippets of any blockbuster that was screened in the nearest skies.

And there it was, the blockbuster of the century! I juggled from school to a planetarium, and planetarium to a local observatory, and finally had the view of my lifetime. The sky-charts I had sketched up had worked their way to the grand miracle! After a long wait, the goddess of love had finally kissed the emperor of stars!

This event marked my largest article clipping archive, until the devastating tsunami occurred months later.

Life moved on, and so did everything else. My curiosity took curves and transformations, but I still crave for those sky spectacles. And in this very year, a spectacle that shall never occur in our lifetime is about to take place again. On June 5 and 6. AKA, today!

Venus is the brightest thing in the starry skies, next only to moon. It is even capable of casting a shadow on earth! We will be able to appreciate this when we witness the transit, because we can watch it sans a telescopic eye!

After eight years, I look back at the innocent curiosity that I had as a kid. Surely that innocence has died down. But the curiosity? Heck, it’s as intact as it could be! I will be gazing at the transit with the same curiosity and with the very same awe of a kid, which makes the Venus Transit twenty twelve all the more


Photos from here and here.


5 thoughts on “#966 Rare astronomical events like the Transit of Venus

  1. Thank you 🙂

    It was a ”phenomenal” day!

    My spirits were down yesterday. I needed a solar filter for my dslr but couldnt get it. So I built a 1.3m pin hole camera which worked quite well, but I doubted to see venus in there. So I made a projector using goggles, which dint seem to work either. And it was very cloudy. That is when I stumbled upon this retired Principal at NCERT REC and a well known physicist’s blog. When I told him of my situation, he invited me to his house!

    I knew he had excellent telescopes and binoculars [you could expect it from a guy who goes to China to shoot an eclipse if you cant shoot it here], but boy, not a completely geek apartment! Multimeters and hard disks lying around, huge LCD and LED displays, a number of fixed and portable telescopes, and guess what, a line up of media-men with their high end cams.

    I had an experience of life time, continually discussing with him, and occasionally getting a glimpse of the transit. To top it all, I was interviewed by E-TV Kannada, Star of Mysore and a few more media.

    And the icing was the blog being published! Thanks a lot! 🙂

  2. WOW! Sounds so amazing! You are blessed for sure! I was blessed in other ways by the occurrence and will look at pics. Thanks so much for sharing:)

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