Venus is on the move today and tomorrow. It’s traveling slowly across the face of the Sun, on a journey that astronomers call being “in transit” — as if Venus were hopping a subway to get from one side of the solar system to another.
These kind of astronomical events are very cool, because they happen so rarely. There’s a “music of the spheres” sort of celestial harmony to Venus’ journey that reflects a special, highly unusual confluence of positioning of the Sun, Venus, and Earth. It won’t happen again for 105 years. By then, we hope, the European debt crisis will have been resolved. In fact, some astrologers are saying that the transit of Venus might help to solve such problems. It’s is supposed to herald in a new era of spiritual and technological revolution . . . or, it’s supposed to strongly accentuate feelings of love and hate. With astrology, it always seems to be one or the other.
As with any solar celestial phenomenon, the news stories always caution people not to look directly at old Sol. It’s hard to believe anyone would try to use the naked eye to check out the Venus transit, because Venus will be only a small speck against the enormous disk of the Sun. You supposedly can see it safely by creating one of those pinhole-in-a-box projectors that the news stories typically mention in these circumstances. I tried to make one of those devices when there was a solar eclipse during my childhood, and I gave up in frustration when it didn’t work. This time, I’ll just rely on the photos, and in the meantime wish Venus well on her cross-town travel.