Monday, June 11, 2012

parley view parsnip... Venus Transit

NASA has released a spectacular  3 minute video of the 6 hour Venus Solar Transit.
Between the different images and the great music my nerd/geek gene kicked in big time.
Every time I watch this, the images and music just rips into my heart with wonder and surprise.
And it brought back so many memories.

When I was in High School, one year my science class was given the opportunity to work on projects for the Science Fair.
It was extra work but just for fun I decided why not ? What a hoot !
Of course I picked something that had to do with stars.
I grew up looking at the stars. If you were lucky enough to grow up in Tucson, Arizona as I was, the clear night sky is overloaded with stars.

My Father who was working, at this time, at the Kitt Peak Observatories outside of Tucson and the Observatories in  Chile helped me research the calculating of  distant planets by reading the different color spectrum the planets projected. 
If I already hadn't decided on a career as a commercial artist, I would have picked space and the stars. I am not sure what field I could have worked in as my math skills are not the best but what a life that would have been.

After watching this video for the hundred time I think my favorite part is the ending where the music slows down and gets real quiet and you see Venus disappear into the night.
Brilliant !
Great job NASA, sign me up !
and of course...
Beam me up Scotty !

watching. . . parsnip
music. . . The Sheltering Sky,  Ryuichi Sakamoto

I moved back to Tucson after 40 years away. The home I bought is on a small hill out in the country.
I don't have any curtains, so I can look out at the mountains and the sky.
The first few night I spent in the home I kept wondering why it is so bright outside ? Did I leave a light on ?
One  night I get up look around no lights left on but as I look outside it is so bright.
I walk outside and realize it is the moon shinning so brilliantly that it makes shadows like the sun and the stars, so many stars, million of stars filling up the sky.
I had forgotten just how clear the night sky can be and how beautiful.
I had lived for so long in cities and then next to the ocean in Laguna Beach, I realized with all the moisture, fog and city lights that I never really saw the moon and stars as I once did.
Isn't life grand ?


  1. I've always been fascinated by the stars, and what's up there and out there. I've had a telescope in the past, and made a lot of use of it- don't know where it vanished to though.

    Living in the city, most of the stars get washed out, of course, but getting out into the country, far enough away, it's amazing how many stars you can see, how the whole sweep of the Milky Way just takes the breath away looking up at it in the night sky.

  2. Hello Gayle:
    This was stunning. We missed the event itself and so this was a wonderful way to catch up on this amazing spectacle of the skies.

    When we lived in the countryside, we could star watch in the unpolluted skies of Herefordshire and would never cease to marvel at the beauty of it all. But, as you say, city life conspires against one gazing at the stars. Yes, Life is grand indeed!!

  3. I know, when you get to see what the Milky Way really looks like it is absolutely breathtaking.
    I love that Tucson has a light ban because of Kitt Peak but so many people complain about it ? I don't understand.
    I have a daylight/night map on my computer and you can see in the night part just how much light the cities are unnecessary producing.
    Soon we will not be able to see any of the night sky.

  4. wasn't it grand, sugar? weather here caused the entire even to be washed out, but we watched online. i know what you mean about people complaining and not even thinking about the larger impact of light pollution! i do know that i was able to make a strong argument for down lighting legislation in our little town by citing tucson and images of the night sky! xooxoxoxox

    1. Yes. it was grand...
      I am so proud of Tucson, they have worked really hard to keep he light pollution down.
      The main reason being Kitt Peak but it also make sense to keep light pollution down for everyone in the world.
      All you have to do is really see the Milky Way once to understand how fabulous the night sky really is.
      For me the Milky Way was a river of stars that took me on many adventures.

  5. Wow, the NASA Venus Transit video is really wonderful!

    In 1994 just before moving to Tucson from the San Fernando Valley, the big Northridge quake happened early in the morning when it was still dark outside. It was awesome to see so many stars for the first time because the power had gone out all over Los Angeles. And ever since moving to Tucson, I've been delighted with the night sky.

    1. I was living in Laguna Beach right after the fire that burned down my city and home when the Northridge quake hit. What a month that was.
      I hope you where ok and not affected by the quake.

      It is wonderful to live in Tucson, we are so lucky.

  6. it is amazing! thank you!

    smiles, bee


  7. Thanks Bee, an amazing look at the Sun and Venus.
    The Square Ones have just finished there mid morning snack and are now protecting their chicken strips from the hot tub repair man.

  8. This is so beautiful. We saw none of it here in the UK as it was a cloudy wet day.

    1. Every time I read about weather in your area it is always cloudy and rainy.... will you have a summer ?

  9. Amazing how small a planet is compared to a star.

    1. I was amazed how small Venus was zooming pass the Sun.

  10. Oh, that was brilliant! Thank you! We are fortunate to be so rural here the skies are good too (not as good as Arizona or Chile though!) and we were looking forward to the transit, but yes, you guessed, for the whole UK cloud stopped play.
    Wow to an astronomer Dad! We've just bought a first telescope for the children, but Craig and I 'play' with it most, and want to upgrade already. In fairness to the boys, it only gets dark here at 10pm-ish at the moment, so by the time you can see anything in the night sky they've been in bed for 2 hours. Hmmm. I wonder who we really bought the telescope for?

    1. My father was not a astronomer but worked for the astronomers... When Kitt Peak was first being built and the first telescopes and mirrors were being put in place. They were constantly needing calibration and he would make tools for them to use.
      I have always wanted a telescope. I want the one that is digital (?) I need all the help I can get.
      You and Craig are so funny...
      Yes we got this new toy errr telescope for the boys but"...

  11. Goodness, that was marvellous. And I didn't even know it happened. Actually, I'm still not sure what happened.

    1. Oh gosh ! in all that free time you have you missed this ? ? ?
      Just read the news about your new job and the time you will now get for your book woohoo !
      But it was a great event and as I said I really enjoy looking at the stars.

  12. You certainly have ended in the right place for you. That was amazing. I can't think how they did it and I don't really want to know. There are more things in Heaven and Earth...

  13. This is indeed spectacular, Gayle!

    I've always been a stargazer...I remember my first telescope...the first time I got to watch an eclipse...seeing Halley's Comet...I would love to go into space, but I'd never pass the physical!