TRANSIT OF VENUS: FREE ADMISSION AT DOWNEY SPACE MUSEUM TO CELEBRATE A COSMIC SHORTCOMINGBy Dave Wielenga
DOWNEY—From all the fuss, you’d think this thing they are calling the Transit of Venus might be something spectacularly creative or excellent—the title of a posthumous novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., or maybe an a transcendent telling of the arcing life story of Venus Williams … or howzabout the announcement of a previously undiscovered Greek myth?
This really big show, which begins its really short run on Earth today at 2:30 p.m. and ends when the sun sets at about 8:01 p.m. is actually a really rare rough patch in the operation of the universe.
For about 5½ hours—only five of which will be visible, beginning at 3:02 p.m.—the planet Venus passes directly between the sun and the earth, blocking the light that normally passes between them.
You think so?
How cool is that person in your row at the movies who passes in front of you—blocking your view of the screen in the middle of the show—on the way out to do whatsomever in the lobby? Because that’s the Transit of Venus.
Or the Transit of Venus is like the driver whose car is stalled in the freeway’s left lane during rush hour.
Yet, the thing is, unlike the aforementioned irritants, and despite the universe’s innumerable moving parts, hiccups like the Transit of Venus hardly ever happen. The one today is the last one of our lifetime. The next Transit of Venus won’t happen until the year 2117. (Oh, and that’s another thing—the Transit of Venus’s few hours of oblivious inconsideration are totally predictable … like, uhhh—Carmageddon!)
So, look, sorry to have been such a damper. Go ahead and let the hoopla has get to you—and get on over to the Columbia Memorial Space Center (12400 Columbia Way) in Downey. Beginning at 1 p.m., the doors are being thrown open so that everybody can experience this cosmic goof, together, for free.
Yes, the Transit of Venus is free … and that’s what I’m talkin’ about!