Transit of Venus

Today (in the U.S.), Venus will be seen to pass in front of the Sun.  It will start just after 5 p.m. Central Time and last through sunset.  You can find out when it starts where you are at this website.  I bought special sunwatching glasses for the event.  If you haven’t planned ahead, you can watch with a homemade pinhole projector.

Transit of Venus

The transit can only be seen twice every century.  The last time was 2004, so this is the last chance until 2117.

Venus was known to ancient civilizations both as the “morning star” and as the “evening star”.  The Babylonians knew these were the same object can called it “Ishtar” — the goddess of life and death.  But the Greeks (like teh Egyptians) initially believed them to be separate.  The Greeks called the two, Phosphoros (“bringer of light”) (or sometimes Eosphoros, “bringer of dawn”) and Hesperos (“star of evening”).  The Romans translated these as “Lucifer” and  “Vesper”, but called the planet Venus.  The planet was also identified by Pliny the Elder with Isis.

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