Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Yesterday Venus passed across the face of the sun beginning here in Denver late in the afternoon. Since these transits occur in pairs and I watched the one in 2004, I had to see this one as well, the next one happening in 2117. The prospect for clear skies looked bad because of the weather pattern these last few days, thunderstorms building up in the afternoon that normally obscure the western sky. Waking up yesterday to high cloudiness so early in the day was not a good sign either.

Surprisingly, the high cloudiness was all we had on the day of the transit. I began watching it from the office on a live webcam feed from NASA, first contact then second contact. My wife and I left the office and blasted home where I set up the telescope and watched it from the back deck before the sun dropped into bands of clouds over the mountains. The shots taken of the sun were done by simply putting the camera up to the telescope eyepiece. I then drove down to a location with sweeping views of the western horizon where I saw the sun emerge again between and beneath the bands of clouds, eventually sinking behind the silhouetted mountain summits.

My dead friends John and Coston were with me enjoying the experience. John’s smiling picture was posted on the trucks dashboard, keeping an eye on my camera gear. Coston helped out by stabilizing the telescope tripod in the strong winds blowing at the time, his weight helping keep it firmly planted on the ground. We had a cigar together and listened to Amy Winehouse, who is also somewhere up there with the two of them. We had a good time together basking in the light of the setting sun. I watched the remainder of the transit on the live webcam at my home computer, ending around 10:45 that evening.

Live life like there’s no tomorrow! Or at least like there is no day after tomorrow.

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