On June 8 2004 more than 1900 groups and thousands of individual curious sky watchers around the world checked out the transit of Venus. Captain Cook sailed in search of a vantage point to measure and record the transit back in 1882 as part of a world wide series of observations made then to measure the sunís distance from earth.† While these days such cooperative international effort seems routine, interested people in Germany India and Europe as well as in Oswego and† North Wolcott joined forces to check it out. Some of them saw it at noon. Some saw it late in the day. Some up in the far north above Norway probably didnít even know what time it was in the land of the mid night sun. But on the south shore of Lake Ontario you had to arise before the sun. Thatís about 0430 hours these days! Whew.
Well we made it. We got up with the loudly singing birds and battled our way through the mosquitoes aboard our trusty bikes to a nearby beach. Here we awaited the blood red orbís emergencefrom the mist above a glassy calm lake to see the transit. A† few early herons and a passing kingfisher kept us company as we waited.
Lacking a telescope we projected an image of the sun through an old pair of binoculars onto a piece of white cardboard. And by golly it happened just as predicted. Those planets really are moving around the solar system. A tiny dark† round speck briefly visible to the eye before the sun got too bright, crept slowly over the face of Old Sol. It disappeared into space at about 7:24 am.
At that very moment Turks, Danes, Russians, Chinese and others young, and old educated and not, but most presumably having in common† with us curiosity, joined us and said Wow there she goes or words to that effect.† So in a very small way we were part of a global community that day by the shores of our own great lake.
look closely and Venus as a tiny dot shows at around 3 oíclock on the projected image of the rising sun.