Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Transit of Venus 2004

In 2004 for the first time since 1882 the planet Venus would cross the face of the sun. It would do it again in 2012. After that it won't occur again until 2117. This is a big time event for astronomy geeks, and I would have two shots to see it.

The 2004 transit would be best viewed from the old world. And while it would be visible from my neck of the woods, and friends did observe the event from a park less than two miles form my home, I chose to travel to Nova Scotia to view it. A fellow WAS member, Scott Ewart, came up with the idea of traveling to Nova Scotia, reasoning that it was both closer to Europe and farther north than New Jersey, which would mean the event would be higher in the sky and visible longer. Alas, the best laid plans ...

... are oft ruined by clouds.

We had assembled early in the morning of transit day at the home of our host for the week we were in Nova Scotia, Roy Bishop. He had a fine viewing site and had put together a wonderful breakfast buffet.

But we got skunked.

The clouds did eventually clear. But by then the event was over. We did eventually learn that the transit had been viewed through that hole in the clouds in the image above. And of course everyone back home had seen it.

Despite the clouds we had a fun time in Nova Scotia, thanks in no small part to Dr. Bishop, who is on the far right, camera around is neck, and Scott, who put the trip together, in the white hoodie on the opposite end.


As our focus was on the transit and we had a fairly large group, we spent most of our trip in the Wolfville area. And as I noted we had a fun trip. But there is much more of Nova Scotia to explore and I've long wanted to go back and see the rest. And I am, as Patty and I are heading up there later this summer. No transit this time, but I'm sure we'll have plenty to see and do.

And about the 2012 transit? That's a story for another day ...

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