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05 June 2012
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Transit of Venus

The 2012 transit of Venus, missing one planet-shadow.

Q:  Did you see the transit of Venus?
A:  Yes, I did!

Q:  Was it spectacular? 
A:  Not exactly.  There was a tiny dot on the face of the sun for a few hours.

Q:  How did you view it? 
A:  I aimed a pair of binoculars at the sun with one lens covered, and focused the rays from the eyepiece onto a sheet of paper.

Q:  Why do you call it a "pair" of binoculars?  It's actually a single binocular, or perhaps a pair of monoculars or, not to put too fine a point on it, two parallel telescopes. 
A:  Because that's what "they" call it, and who was I until your Q: to quibble?  I am at this very moment wearing a pair of pants and a pair of socks. 

Q:  How conventional!
A:  Oh yeah?  Check out the hat!

Q:  Did you photograph the event?  It would be nice to have a record of it since it isn't occurring again until 2117.
A:  Yes, see the photo above.

Q:  I see the photo, but not the dot.  Where's Venus?
A:  Right where she's supposed to be.  The dot is invisible due to, I'm assuming, the camera's inability to recover from the extreme brightness saturation.  Could have tried some other stuff, but I suspect there are plenty of pictures of the actual transit, and few examples how things go wrong when you don't plan ahead and/or run out of limbs. 

Q:  But you did see the dot, didn't you?
A:  Yes.  Eyes are still pretty good.  Just ask Giovanni Schiaparelli.


NP:
"You Turn Me On I'm A Radio"
Joni Mitchell

 

 

TotD

The Solar System T-shirt.

(Not to scale)

The solar system on a T-shirt.  Kind of old and faded, but the model was even older.
 
2012
Richard Factor

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