Venus transits like a beauty spot-A A +A
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Christopher Go, a multi-awarded astronomer, showed the Venus transit through his telescope and the images he took from his home in Barangay Banilad, Cebu City.
“Venus is perfectly between the sun and Earth that (the event) is sort of like an eclipse,” Go told reporters.
From the telescope, the planet Venus looked like an irregularly shaped black sphere on the lower left quadrant of a massive white sphere.
The clear image, seen through Go’s camera that was attached to the telescope, also
showed sun spots of various shapes and sizes.
On his computer screen, one image showed the “granules” or cells of the sun. Go called it a lucky shot.
“This is a very rare event; the last time this happened was in 2004. The next one would be in 2117,” Go said. He said he chose to host the viewing at home “as a way to get people involved in science.”
None of us will likely see Venus pass, like a moving beauty spot, across the face of the sun again, the Associated Press reported.
From the United States to South Korea, people around the world turned their attention to the sky to catch the rare transit of Venus.
For astronomers, the transit was also an event they hoped would spark curiosity about the universe and our place in it.
Sul Ah Chim, a researcher at the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute in South Korea, said he hoped people see life from a larger perspective, and “not get caught up in their small, everyday problems.”
“When you think about it from the context of the universe, 105 years is a very short period of time and the Earth is only a small, pale blue spot,” he said.
It was the seventh transit visible since German astronomer Johannes Kepler first predicted the phenomenon in the 17th century. Because of the shape and speed of Venus’ orbit around the sun and its relationship to Earth’s annual trip, transits occur in pairs separated by more than a century.
Clouds obscured the view in Tokyo, but students and other viewers under clearer skies in southern and western Japan used dark lenses to gaze at the sun. One child said it looked as if the “sun had a mole on its face.”
In Cebu, Go, a physics degree holder and furniture maker, said he also invited friends to share his photographs.
Among his visitors was an 18-year-old incoming Applied Physics sophomore at the University of San Carlos (USC), Kit Gerodias, who went to Go’s house with 10 other friends because of a shared interest in astronomy.
Gerodias said similar celestial phenomena observed during early times were used as basis to measure the sizes of planets.
Go has received several awards for his astrophotography work, such as the Presidential Medal of Merit from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the San Carlos Borromeo Medal of Excellence from USC.
He discovered the second red spot in planet Jupiter or Red Jr. in February 2006.
“(The Venus transit phenomenon) is something to open the mind. Science is important for our country, (there are) some students who are already doing impressive research,” said Go.
“We don’t appreciate what is basically important to our country. Science and technology introduce efficiency and high-value products,” he added.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 07, 2012.