The so-called transit of Venus is a much-anticipated event that has attracted wide interest around the globe. To prepare for the historic spectacle, here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) on the rare celestial sight:
What is the transit of Venus?
When Venus crosses in front of the sun, astronomers refer to this as a "transit." As the planet moves along its orbital path, it will travel across the solar disk, making it appear to observers on Earth as a small black blemish on the face of the sun.
What's so special about it?
Due to the tilt of the planet's orbit, transits of Venus are some of the rarest astronomical sights because they only occur in pairs eight years apart, once every 100 years or so. The last Venus transit occurred on June 8, 2004, and the next one will not be visible again until the year 2117, more than 100 years from now. [Transits of Venus Through History (Gallery)]
Prior to 2004, the last pair of Venus transits took place in 1881 and 1889.
How can I watch the transit?
As Venus passes in front of the sun, the planet will cover only a small fraction of the solar disk, which means observers need to protect their eyes. It is very dangerous for humans to stare at the sun (even mid-transit) without proper eclipse glasses or solar filters for binoculars and telescopes.
To observe the sun, dense filters are used to block damaging rays. The only safe filters are #14 welder's glass, which is sold in specialized welder's supply stores. Special eclipse glasses are also available from telescope stores and astronomy clubs (they should only cost a couple of dollars).
Another way to watch the transit is using a "pinhole camera," which can be made from a large cardboard box. [Video: How to Make a Pinhole Camera]
If you plan to watch the transit with binoculars or a small telescope, you will need a proper full-aperture solar filter.
When and where can I see the 2012 transit of Venus?
Venus will cross the face of the sun on June 5, 2012, and will be visible from many parts of the world. Since the event takes place across the International Date Line, the transit will occur on Wednesday, June 6 in Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe.
Skywatchers in North America, Europe, Asia and eastern Africa will be well-placed to see at least part of the transit in person.
To see if there are any local events in your hometown to view the transit of Venus, NASA has put together a map showing the location of various viewing parties around the world on its Sun-Earth Day website:http://venustransit.nasa.gov/2012/transit/event_locations.php
If, however, you are unable to witness the event in person, several organizations will be broadcasting footage from observatories and telescopes online.
For example, NASA will be hosting a webcast on June 5 that will last the entire length of the Venus transit. Viewers who tune in will be able to see the entire event unfold, through footage streamed live from t he summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. These views will be accompanied by commentary from astronomers and transit experts. The webcast is currently scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. EDT (2145 GMT).
For more information, SPACE.com has put together a handy guide for how to watch the transit of Venus online: http://www.space.com/15956-venus-transit-online-skywatching-webcast...
What time will I be able to see the transit of Venus?
The transit will begin at around 6:09 p.m. EDT (2209 GMT) on June 5, and will last roughly seven hours. People located in the mid-Pacific region, where the sun will be high overhead throughout the transit, are particularly lucky because they will be able to witness majority of the event.
Still, others in North America, Europe, Asia and eastern Africa should be able to see at least part of the transit in person.
In North America, the best time to view the transit will be in the afternoon, in the hours before sunset on June 5. In Europe, Africa and Australia, Venus will be traveling across the sun as it rises in the morning on June 6.
Skywatchers throughout most of Asia and across the Pacific Ocean should be able to view the event any time on Wednesday. Still, it's important to keep in mind that these guidelines are all contingent on local weather and conditions.
For more information on viewing times, check out this article: http://www.space.com/15910-venus-transit-2012-observing-tips.html
Can the transit of Venus be seen from space?
Yes. In fact, NASA astronaut Don Pettit, who is currently aboard the International Space Station, is planning to be the first to photograph the Venus transit from space. Pettit is planning to snap pictures of the celestial event from the station's seven-windowed Cupola observation room.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is also planning to watch the transit from space. According to agency officials, the satellite will use observations from the event to calibrate its instruments and glean information about Venus' intensely hot atmosphere.
What are the different stages of the transit?
Astronomers refer to different phases of the transit of Venus based on "contacts." When the planet first touches the outer edge of the sun, this is known as first contact. Second contact occurs when Venus appears to be completely on the sun. Third contact refers to when Venus touches the sun's inner edge, and fourth contact follows when the planet is totally separate from the sun.
This website can be used to calculate local transit times, including the various stages of contact:http://transitofvenus.nl/wp/where-when/local-transit-times/
What does it mean when Venus passes across the face of the Sun on June 5th and 6th? Spiritual and Technological Revolution actually.....
It is among that rarest of planetary alignments and only 7 of them have happened since the invention of the telescope. They happen in pairs with 8 years in between them. The dates of previous ones have been 1631 and 1639, then 1761 and 1769, followed by 1874 and 1882 and then finally 2004 which was the opener to a pair which will see the second event in 2012.
Venus and the Sun do cross over regularly, but ordinarily Venus passes our star high or low instead of moving across the Sun’s face. This event actually has more impact in terms of meaning because of this. We have to understand that a Venus Transit is like an eclipse. Electromagnetic force lines and plasma flux ropes will cross over.
Imagine a piece of string going from Earth to the Sun and one from Earth to the Venus too. It's as if the strings will cross each other and vibrations pass down the string.
So what is the meaning of this in astrology? To find that out we have to explore the meaning of Venus and then look at the events around the last 3 pairs of Venus Transits and see if there are any similarities in world events. For what happened then will happen again now, taking into account cultural differences.
The Meaning of Venus
If you do not know any astrology, that's no problem, you can read this, for I will be describing things in layman's terms.
Venus is an Earth or Earthy planet. This much must be understood at the beginning. So what she delivers (or takes away) is manifestly and concretely felt. You can hold it, celebrate it and use it. Venus seeks gratification, pleasure and fulfilment. She will give affirmation and success in war or love because her aim is to manifest it .......to make it happen - whatever that is. Venus understands the beauty of form, possession and manifestation.
She is useful in practical and everyday living for protection, power and support. She supports aspiration, success and achievement in LIFE. To the Egyptians, her symbol, the ankh, was known as the Giver of Life.
The Meaning of the Sun
This is the energy storehouse of our existence. The Sun's immense nuclear and spiritual power fuels our lives from within and without. Many ancient and not-so-ancient cultures believed that the Sun was the source of all Spirit. It is the heart and ruler of our Solar System and it controls all life with the heat that warms and the energy (calories) that emanate from it both invisibly and visibly. So the Sun gives light and invisible power.
What do They Mean Together?
On the surface of it, together they mean something very successful and powerful, but on this occasion they might just SAVE THE PLANET! Sort of a cosmic Superman and Superwoman actually. For if you haven't noticed, Earth is in trouble and we need a miracle. We are heavily over-populated and we are indulging in massive over-consumerism. Debt has fuelled over-inflation and the over-consumption of our planets raw materials. In short, we have been asleep in the wheelhouse of the Titanic for the last two decades and now we need a miracle! So hopefully, this Venus Transit can deliver one......
How? Let's look at what happened before.....
From 1631 to 1639
A new world view was emerging, beginning with Galileo’s insistence that the Earth was not the centre of the Universe, the Sun was. Another influence was Rene Descartes who brought order to thought and something of a revolution in the intellectual life of Western man. The Catholic Church remained powerful, but was challenged.
A new generation of communicating European scientists were making nonsense of theories that had been rock solid for generations with microscopes and other inventions. They sought answers to motion and dynamics; things that had been unquestioned because they were holy and under God’s control. Authority and power was shifting.….and chocolate had arrived. (yyesss!!)
From 1761 to 1769
After a spectacular year of military successes in 1759, Britain signed peace treaties with France and Spain in 1763. Britain was now the dominant power in North America. However, the American Revolution started brewing at this time and the Anglican Church was ousted in 1761. Exploration for the achievement of scientific knowledge began with Captain Cook’s mission to Tahiti. (Vanilla to go with the chocolate?) He makes an unprecedented contribution to the knowledge of the Pacific. An industrial revolution occurred in Britain and the first of the mills, factories and canals were opened.
From 1874 to 1882
There were huge leaps in technology, electricity for public use and the telephone, light bulb and recording equipment were all invented. The Theosophical Society and the Christian Science movement were both founded in 1875.
So, what did these three periods have in common?
A common feature is exploration and the seeking of scientific knowledge, which is interesting, since it is very apparent that we are in the middle of huge advancements in scientific exploration now. Captain Cook’s expeditions, with their painstaking recording of information on species marked a leap forward in the history of human inquisitiveness and acquisition of knowledge.
The most common theme is revolution. In the 17th century it was about scientific revolution which the Catholic Church could no longer contain. In the 18th century it was about an industrial revolution in Britain (a dominant world super-power) and the preludes to a government revolution in America (to get rid of the afore-mentioned dominant world super-power.) In the 19th century a technological or electrical revolution began.
Venus transits always occur in Gemini and Sagittarius alternately - an axis that is all about exploration and the gathering of knowledge for books in an effort to gain gnosis and superior understanding. Religion and spiritual questioning is associated with the sign of Sagittarius and each of the eras has some notable milestones concerning issues of faith. We are heading for a Spiritual Revolution by the looks of it. |(Yay!)
Vive La Revolution!
`Live the Revolution` and the revolution theme is most welcome when we think about it. For right now, what we need most of all is revolution!
We need breakthroughs in science and technology that will revolutionise our ability to get power from thin air. If we could draw limitless, non-polluting power from the invisible energy that exists all around us we could de-salinate sea water and grow crops on the Moon. The particle science being explored by the teams at the Large Hadron Collider could take us into the realms of harnessing power out of dark energy and this could solve oh-so-many problems.
Or perhaps a better way would be to revolutionise many areas of the way we conduct ourselves on this planet.
We are heavily over-populated and the only reason we don't provide free and effective birth control pills to the poor women in Africa is because the MEN of the Catholic Church forbid it. Why not give a woman the right to choose whether or not she gets pregnant? Western women have been choosing for decades. Venus represents women and particularly the priestesses of the temple who were there to initiate men. In Africa I hear the men `initiate` themselves whether or not the woman wants it. We can't stop that happening, but we can give these women the protection (protection is a key Venusian theme) that they can choose to take to limit the consequences can't we? Hopefully, Venus will bring all these taboo questions into mainstream media.
Western lifestyles and social care were funded by credit which threatens to bankrupt the western world and over-consumerism has nearly depleted natural resources and raw materials. Venus represents all of these things, let's hope that her move IN FRONT of the Sun shows her intention to improve our attitude in these areas.
Is it a Coincidence that 2,012 Beacons of Fire will be Lit Across the British Empire on June 4th?
It is something of a mystery that 2012 is also the year that London hosts the Olympics and it happens to be the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - she has reigned for 60 years. In celebration of this, there is a co-ordinated project to light 2,012 beacons of fire on all the high places of the UK on the 4th June 2012. Just TWO days before the passage of Venus across the face of the Sun! The ancient races understood Venus' power and the importance of this event. They too, would have celebrated it in this way.
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