What Transit?

This is what the Transit of Venus looked like from my backyard in Greenhills.

Transit of Venus

(Description: grey cloudy sky behind tree)

I didn’t see it at all, and given that my next chance to see it is in 2117, my guess is that I won’t be seeing it at all ever.

On the other hand, my brother saw it in full glory in Brisbane. He had a set of welding glasses – the proper sort – and he spent a good part of his day on the roof of his workplace, looking. More than just looking. He dragged many of his colleagues up there to take a look, explaining to them what it was all about, and why it is so important in the history of New Zealand and Australia. Some of them really didn’t care at all, but others were intrigued, and keen to learn more, and still talking about it hours later. My brother was buzzing about it, when he rang me to brag tell me about his day.

Oh, go away, I said. Laughing. I’m so pleased that he had that experience, and that he was able to share it with his colleagues.

I enjoyed all the stories on the news last night, about people watching the Transit in various places around New Zealand. The best story came from Tolaga Bay, where people were on the beach and gathered at the local school, and everyone was excited about it. What a great way to get kids enthusiastic about science, and history, and our world. Fantastic stuff.

My parents gave me that sense of joyful curiosity about the world when I was a child, and I am busy passing it on to my daughters (see for example, one of the earliest blog posts I ever wrote, about a total eclipse of the moon). It’s great to see children and adults all around the country being excited about science.

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4 comments on “What Transit?

  1. David Winter says:

    Uawa / Tolaga bay was certainly the best spot to see the transit, though i think it was more a case of the kids at Tolaga area school getting a bunch of scientists excited about the event! Definitely the highlight of the meeting we were at 🙂

  2. Helen says:

    I have to be honest – I deliberately avoided it. Having been in and out of hospital with a child with an eye injury, and also having a real dread of eyesight loss in old age, I didn’t want to risk trying to look at it through any apparatus – didn’t trust myself or the offspring to do it properly and was too afraid of the outcome of a slipup or mistake! My loss.

    • Mindy says:

      I was in an all day meeting, so I looked at a picture later. Even if I hadn’t been in a meeting I didn’t have access to fancy equipment to look at it, so it wouldn’t have mattered. The next day, upon meeting me coming around the corner of the house my husband remarked ‘oh look it’s the transit of Venus’. I think I might keep him.

    • Deborah says:

      Definitely a keeper! 🙂

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