Tuesday, June 08, 2004

in transit.

this morning, on the way to the bakery and the farmer's market, i took a moment to look through the telescope the local optician had gracefully placed in front of his shop door to watch for a few moments as venus crossed the face of the sun.
i had unsuccessfully tried to buy some protective sunglasses at his shop yesterday, when he'd told me he'd be outside with his telescope all morning, so people could take a look. very nice of him.

with the transit not observable without protective eyegear, it was strange to see that little black dot on the face of the sun. strange what a small event this was, from a purely visual point of view. strange that this was something that no one living today had ever seen before.

i wasn't dissapointed though. i hadn't expected something "grande", more obvious. i knew what was to come.
fact is though, this was a grand event, in a non-obvious way.
i felt (now, that sounds odd) "chosen" to be able to see venus, that black little dot in front of the sun, while everyone was going along their day, passing around me and the telescope in the middle of the city, sun shining brightly above everyone, without any indication that what was happening up above was quite grande - astronomy wise.

sure, the eclipse of 1999 was a whole different kind of experience, larger than life (for a multitude of reasons, not just the moon/sun thing: i had a fucking great time.), but still: it was funky to see our planets move today.