By Alaina G. Levine
Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, so I am getting ready to say goodbye to my home world. I will miss it. Sure I will see it again with my telescope, but there’s nothing like witnessing its pass in front of the Sun. This transit won’t happen again until 2117. And since I am not Vulcan, and won’t be around in 100 years (at least in this form), I will say my fond farewells today.
I love my planet. Its sumptuous blue green tinge and its calming sulfuric acid clouds remind me of happy days as a child, climbing to and picnicking near the caldera of Maat Mons. Ah, but everything good must come to an end, and so it goes with my seeing the last transit of Venus while on this mortal coil.
Today, while people across the Earth experience the transit, it’s important to remember that lovely Venus is not only important to us girls. In fact, in the 1700s, its transit helped sailors, scientists and kings understand our place in the solar system. The story of how this transpired is brought to light in a clever and very entertaining book called The Day the World Discovered the Sun, by Mark Anderson. People risked life and limb to crack the problem of longitude, the author shared with me, and the transit of Venus was “the crucial key to worldwide navigation.” His book is an adventure tale, a story of human “drive and endurance” with voyages to the poles and everywhere in between to unlock a scientific mystery. Check it out!
Alaina G. Levine is a freelance science writer, professional speaker, corporate comedian, and President of Quantum Success Solutions, a leadership and career consulting enterprise. She can be contacted through her website at www.alainalevine.com.