Monday, June 4, 2012

#256: [Planet]-gazing

Tomorrow marks your last chance to observe the "Transit of Venus."  (That is, unless you plan to plan to live for another 121 years.) 

You might have heard or read about this event, but like me, don't really understand what 'transit' they're referring to.  A bit of Google-ing can make you a quick expert.  Essentially, once every 125 years, the planet Venus passes in front of the sun (during daylight hours) so we can watch its silhouette cross over the sun.  Scientists in the 19th century used this event to estimate the distance between the Earth and the sun, and this event is still very important to astrological research.  For a much better scientific explanation, click here.
For everyone looking for a reason to celebrate the gorgeous weather, this event also gives you an excuse to take off work and get outside.  In the local area, Univ. of Notre Dame is hosting a telescope viewing at which you can watch the whole scene play out.  They will have protective eyeglasses so you can watch without burning your corneas. Yay.  There will also be concessions for sale and streaming video from locations around the world.

You can also celebrate the usual way: with food.  Victorian Pantry (Black Drop Effect coffee), the Livery (Venusian beer), and Pizza Transit (Transit of Venus pizza) have limited edition items inspired by the Transit.

When: Tuesday, June 5 - event at ND begins at 5:00pm, Transit begins around 6:00pm and will last until 8:00pm
Where: Lawn in between the Jordan Hall of Science and the Joyce Center, Univ. of Notre Dame 
Cost: Free
Website: or

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