Tuesday, 8 June 2004

Transit of Venus, June 8th, 2004

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.

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