|5 years ago :: Jun 09, 2012 - 3:11AM #1|
The rare conjunction of orbital mechanics, the transit of Venus, was perhaps the most anticipated scientific event of the 18th century. Expeditions set off for the far corners of the Earth, including one by Capt. James Cook who sailed to Tahiti to observe the transit. He went on to discover the continent of Australia where I have lived for the last four decades. Explorers like Cook went in hopes of answering one of the most vexing scientific questions of the day: How far away is the Sun?
“This was the big unknown for astronomy 250 years ago,” said Owen Gingerich, an emeritus professor of astronomy and history of science at Harvard. Without that number, much else about the solar system was also uncertain: the size of the Sun, the distance between planets, inter alia. The answer that came out of the worldwide 1769 observations was pretty close at 95 million miles. “Historically speaking, it was the beginning of big international science,” said Dr. Gingerich.
It was only in 1627 that anyone realized Venus transits occurred at all. That year, Johannes Kepler, the mathematician and astronomer, published data about the planetary orbits that predicted that Venus would pass directly between Earth and the Sun in 1631.-Ron Price with thanks to:
What a set of revolutions we’ve
seen since Captain Cook was in
Tahiti and we finally learned the
distance to the Sun among other
bodies in our solar system! What
a story it has been in the last 250
years! We each follow these many
revolutions as suits our tastes and
interests. My particular interest is
in the revolution that took place in
the Shaykhi school of Shi’a Islam
known as the Ithnā‘ashariyyah sect,
the Twelvers as they are called…....
It was a revolution that produced, &
will produce, in time, the eclipse of
all traditional religious and political
orthodoxies in the form of a religion
known as the Baha’i Faith….. I have
been associated with it for 60 years!!
* The term eclipse is derived from an ancient Greek noun, a noun which means "the abandonment", "the downfall", or "the darkening of a heavenly body." This noun is derived from a verb which means "to abandon", "to darken", or "to cease to exist." The prefix of the word eclipse, e, comes from a preposition meaning "out," and from a verb meaning "to be absent".
8 June 2012
Updated for Beliefnet Community
On: 9 June 2012
|5 years ago :: Jun 09, 2012 - 7:10PM #2|
You may already know these gorgeous NASA HD images of the transit, but if not, I highly commend them.
|5 years ago :: Jun 09, 2012 - 7:44PM #3|
Thanks for that note, Blu. Wishing you well from Downunder.-Ron