This past June gave us a rare opportunity to see the beautiful transit of Venus. In order to commemorate the event, the Astronomical League put together a special observing award just for the transit.
Well, when we heard about that we just had to do it. After all, how many people can say they’ve received the Transit of Venus observing award? How many people can say they have two awards? Wait – what?
I know we keep saying that this is a rare event, but there was one in 2004. These rare events come in pairs! The first transit was in 2004, the next in 2012 then nothing until December 2117, which is, according to www.transitofvenus.org, 38,328 days and 10 hours (at the time of this writing) away.
In 2004, we also had a great observing event overlooking Lake Michigan. We were able to see the whole event that day because it started early in the morning! The Astronomical League had an observing program back then too, and guess who did that one? Me! So not to boast or anything – but I’ll have them both!
So – what does it take to complete this type of award? Well they both involved the timing of the contacts, sketching the event and making a calculation of 1 au (astronomical unit, the distance between the earth and the sun) which is roughly 93 million miles.
I’m very happy that I’ve received both certificates – they will be proudly displayed side by side!