Transit of Venus: heavenly wonder or celestial non-event?
Late in the afternoon of June 6th.
This announcement has been trumpeted everywhere lately, in newspapers, magazines, and on the internet. But why should anyone care?
What would you actually see if you had all the special equipment required and bothered to take the time to look? Nothing but a tiny black flyspeck crawling across the face of the sun.
Transit of Venus, transit of Sheenus. Big deal. This is entertainment? Give me a break. Who really cares?
Yes…we know…early astronomers were very tricky and they did use the transit of Venus to figure out how big the solar system was. Yawn. This we can get out of any book on the history of astronomy, IF we were interested. But are we? I don't think so.
Yes…this flyspeck won't crawl again in this century. But so what? This flyspeck, like most flyspecks, is certainly a pleasure I'm willing to forgo. For all the interest it will afford us, I'd say it would be preferable if it didn't come back till the next millennium.
And what is the transit of Venus anyway? Just something you'd expect to happen now and then with any planet with an orbit inside that of the Earth's: It happens to pass between us and the sun occasionally.
Now if it made it dark here on Earth, as in the case of an eclipse, that might be something to get up on our hind legs about. But this is something you'll be totally unaware of if you don't have access to the right equipment.
So take my advice: Rather than waste time on this celestial non-event, do almost anything else. Go to a movie, read a book, eat out, even sleep. Anything—anything at all—will be more interesting than the transit of Venus.