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Moments of Transition - In the Shadow of Leaves
Dappled in light & dark; a place to watch from, think, write, make & show images
Moments of Transition
Australians have a slightly special relationship with transits of Venus.
An important part of the journey of Cook, Banks & the others on HM bark Endeavour on which they discovered & explored the East Coast of Australia (the West Coast was known in Europe, but is much less favourable for settlement) was viewing the 1769 transit from Tahiti.
"Cook's voyage led directly to the British settlement of Australia," said Dr Nick Lomb, Sydney Observatory curator. "If it weren't for Cook and Banks coming here after watching the transit of Venus this country could have been settled by the French or Portuguese."

They occur in pairs, eight years apart, every 122 years, so the last ones were in 1874 & 1882. Consider the changes between 1769, 1874 & 2004. The next is on June 6, 2012. After then it's a fair wait until December 11, 2117. (Quick break to contemplate how history might have developed by then.)

If your place on the planet doesn't have a good view (e.g., the Americas), there are quite a few internet sites, one is www.transit.csiro.au I'll be at work, but am taking my small field glasses (safely viewing by projection - NOT direct), since we have a good view out northwest. Going by past experience, however, it bodes well for breaking our current dry spell.

From The Library of Congress "Transit of Venus March" Page

On Tuesday, June 8, 2004, the first "transit of Venus" since December 6, 1882 will take place. Over six hours, between 1:13 A.M. EDT and 7:35 A.M. EDT [USA Times], the disk of Venus will pass in front of the Sun perceived, by those who can see it, as little more than a black dot silhouetted against the Sun's bright glow.

The Library of Congress is pleased to join with NASA in celebrating this rare event, by providing access to the score and band parts of John Philip Sousa's "Transit of Venus March." In addition to this music, which can be printed directly from this Web site, a recording, sheet music -- for solo piano and for banjo accompanied by piano -- and other material relating to the transit of Venus are also available.

For those seeking additional information regarding this special event, NASA's Web site ( sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/sunearthday/2004/) provides a wealth of useful and interesting details.

[Thanks to Jonathon vos Post & Xopher for pointing me to this -- at Making Light.]
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