Monday, August 31, 2015

Venus Transits the Sun Tuesday for the Last Time Until 2117

It's not too soon to start looking for eye protection and an unobstructed view to the west. This Tuesday Venus will eclipse the sun for the last time until 2117. My colleague Tom Avril wrote this fascinating story about the way David Rittenhouse and other 16th century astronomers used a transit to calculate the distance between the Earth and the sun.

Venus Transits the Sun Tuesday for the Last Time Until 2117

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It’s not too soon to start looking for eye protection and an unobstructed view to the west. This Tuesday Venus will eclipse the sun for the last time until 2117. My colleague Tom Avril wrote this fascinating story about the way David Rittenhouse and other 16th century astronomers used a transit to calculate the distance between the Earth and the sun.

Here’s what Rittenhouse wrote about the sight: "Imagination cannot form any thing more beautifully serene and quiet, than was the air during the whole time; nor did I ever see the Sun's limb more perfectly defined, or more free from any tremulous motion."

On the East Coast, the best viewing is from 6 pm until sunset. If you plan to be near Philadelphia you might want to check out this event at the Frainklin Institute. They'll make sure your eyes are safe.

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About this blog
Faye Flam - writer
In pursuit of her stories, writer Faye Flam has weathered storms in Greenland, gotten frost nip at the South Pole, and floated weightless aboard NASA’s zero-g plane. She has a degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology and started her writing career with the Economist. She later took on the particle physics and cosmology beat at Science Magazine before coming to the Inquirer in 1995. Her previous science column, “Carnal Knowledge,” ran from 2005 to 2008. Her new column and blog, Planet of the Apes, explores the topic of evolution and runs here and in the Inquirer’s health section each Monday. Email Faye at fflam@phillynews.com. Reach Planet of the at fflam@phillynews.com.

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