Monday, June 4, 2012

by Milky Way Maid Dear Readers: I wanted to post a bit more info on the spectacular and meaningful Venus transit of the Sun which occurs this week, along with a repost of my article from 6-15-2011. OK, you came here looking for the exact times that Venus crosses the Sun. Here goes: FIRST CONTACT: The leading edge of Venus first strikes the Sun in late afternoon of June 5 at 6”04 pm EDT. Venus begins her contact at the upper left (northeast) edge of the Sun's disk, and proceeds to the lower right. SECOND CONTACT: The point when the shadow of the planet Venus is entirely withing the Sun's disk is projected to be at 6:22 pm EDT. Note that times may vary by a minute or two depending on where you are in your time zone (in other words, your latitude). But I am assured that these times are exact for the cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. LENGTH OF TRANSIT: Six hours. Natch, we will not be able to watch the entire transit because the Sun will SET at 8:21 pm on the East Coast. If you wanted to watch more of the transit, you should have booked a flight to Hawaii, Alaska, or perhaps Asia. Venus will then become visible, like normal, after dawn on Wednesday. PRECAUTIONS: Protect your eyesight if viewing this transit. Just like viewing an eclipse or any appearance of the sun, please wear protective goggles or use a pinhole viewer. One type of goggle or filter specifically recommended is the #14 welder's filter. Even better are “Eclipse Shades” which are cheap and safe; they resemble 3D glasses for watching old sci-fi movies. Another option is a hand-held Eclipse Viewer available from Rainbow Symphony at BINOCULARS: You may wish to view the eclipse closeup thru binoculars or a telescope. However, you still need a protective device, and it should cover the FRONT of the binocs, NOT over the eyepiece. Optical solar filters can be had from Orion Telescopes & Binoculars at PINHOLE VIEWER: Take a piece of cardboard about 8 x 8 inches or so, punch a small hole in the center, and angle it so the sunlight peeps thru the hole onto a sheet of paper held below it. It really does work; I have used it years ago in viewing an eclipse. Experiment with moving the paper closer or further from the cardboard. You could also make a couple of cardboard viewers with different sizes of holes, from a pinprick to a nail hole to a hole punch. THOUGHTS: Since the beginning of the current Mayan cycle was in about 3100 BC, and since the advent of writing also dates from that era, it is possible that this Venus transit may mark a radical advance in communications. See below for the mention of Susan Custer and her correlation of Venus transits with advances in communications. I have not tried to find if there was a Venus transit around 3100 BC, but the fact that a Venus transit occurs in the year of the end of the cycle is sure intriguing. The article from June of 2011 follows here: The year 2012 is not only the culmination of the Mayan calendar's Long Count, it is not only marked by the Neptune-Pluto square (discussed in a previous entry on this column), it is also the year that Venus makes another trip across the Sun. AND we will also see a solar eclipse within weeks of that Venus transit, one that aligns with the Pleiades star cluster in the sign Taurus. The ancient Mayans (not to mention astrologer Barbara Hand Clow) believe that the Pleiades was a gateway for the ancients to come to earth or conversely, for shamans of several cultures to expand their minds. Venus does not cross the Sun but rarely. She makes her visits in pairs, spaced eight years apart. But these paired visits may occur 105-130 years apart. So we are rather privileged to be able to view her transits in this decade with all the high-power telescopes trained on her progress across the Sun. Venus made a transit of the Sun in June 8, 2004, at 17 degrees Gemini. Venus will make her return trip on June 6, 2012 at 15 degrees Gemini. Astrologer Susan Custer interprets the Gemini transits as presaging advances in communications and shrinking the 'global village.' For example, the 1631 and 1639 transit was the year that mail service was first instituted, in Denmark and Sweden. In 1874, the Atlantic telegraph cable was completed. Magellan sailed around the globe during the Venus transits in the 1600s. You may read her article on the topic on her website, The Astrology Page dot com, at The Mayans revered Venus, some might say they feared her even more. But they built temples and other observatories aligned to key phases in her cycle. Kukulkan was deemed a manifestation of Venus. Kukulkan, according to some, symbolized the return of the Christ energy, a time to rebalance the spiritual and material values we hold. Some transits of Venus have been accompanied by the most dreadful events. The 2004 transit marked the year of the gigantic tsunami that killed 275,000 people. Yet this event triggered a spontaneous outpouring of concern and donations for the relief of the survivors rendered homeless and jobless. (A previous transit marked the year that the Spanish conquistadores subjugated Mexico.) The fact that this second leg of the series occurs in Gemini may hold out some hope that we may see an advance in communications or internet capability, similar to the Sagittarius transits in the 1600s. Let's look at what else happened in 2004 for more clues. On Jan. 4, 2004, Spirit, a NASA Mars Rover, lands on that planet. (It ceased communicating all too soon but was fixed remotely and resumed its chatter on Feb. 6.) The Queen Mary 2 is christened on Jan. 8. (She embarks on her first Trans-Atlantic crossing on April 16.) On Feb. 12, the city of San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples who wished to wed. Massachusetts legalizes same-sex marriage on May 17. On March 15, the discovery of the farthest natural object in the solar system (so far) was announced with the naming of Sedna. On March 29, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia join NATO. On April 1, Google introduced gmail. On May 24, North Korea bans mobile phones. On May 26, the New York Times publishes a list of its journalistic failings, including flawed reporting about the buildup to the 2003 launch of the war in Iraq. On June 11, the probe Cassini-Huygens makes its closest flyby of Phoebe. On June 21 and Sept. 29, the first privately funded space plane achieves space flight, SpaceShipOne. On June 24, New York state declares capital punishment to be unconstitutional. On Dec. 8, the Cuzco Declaration is signed in Cuzco, Peru, establishing the South American Community of Nations. On Dec. 25, Cassini orbiter releases Huygens probe which successfully landed on Saturn's moon Titan on January 14, 2005. (Events listed above are from the webpages.) So we can see that 2004 was not just about gloom and doom and disaster, although some terrible hurricanes, earthquakes, and of course the Dec. 26 tsunami occurred. The year was also marked by private space travel, solar system discoveries and exploration, gmail, gay marriage rights, and the expansion of international working groups (NATO, the South American Community of Nations). In 2012, we may see more ordinary people embark on space flights, the scientific conclusions of some of the 2004 landings may be released, gay marriage may once again go forward, and greater international cooperation. Let us hope so, anyway. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ RE the solar eclipse of 2012, let me look in the ephemeris... NASA shows an Annular Solar Eclipse on May 20 – actually May 21 in Asia. Its path skirts the edges of the East China Sea, Japan, the Aleutian Islands, then to California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Texas. It is at zero degrees Gemini, reinforcing the Venus transit later in the same sign. BTW there is a conjunction of Saturn with the star Spica on May 11, the second of a series of contacts between them. A chart cast for Washington D.C. on May 20, at 7 pm shows Mars high and conjunct the MC at 10 degrees Virgo. The Ascendant is 27 degrees Scorpio. Venus is setting and the Sun and Moon are just above the horizon in the West. Jupiter and Mercury are just below the horizon. Pluto is in the second house, Neptune in the third near the IC, Uranus in the fourth, Saturn in the eleventh. The MC and Mars trine Pluto. Venus is trine Saturn. Mercury is semisquare Uranus. Jupiter is sesquiquadrate Pluto. NASA reference page on 2004 and 2012 Transits of Venus: NASA world map showing where we may view some or all of Venus' 2012 transit across the Sun: NASA map of May 2012 track of Annular Solar Eclipse My prior article on the Neptune-Pluto square in 2011 and 2012 is at: SEE ALSO

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