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← A Moment of Science

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Anvil

I've a 6" newtonian telescope.

I too was amazed at being able to see the discs of Saturn (blurry though they may be) and three of the many moons of Jupiter (my partner says 'two' and that I have a scouse tendency to exaggeration) - but the real big buzz for me was the exceptionally clear views of the phases of Venus.

It's a few years back, now, but I remember it distinctly. I'd just been reading about Galileo who'd followed the phases (1610?) with one of the first telescopes.

Proof that the earth was not the center of the Universe!

Proof that the Ptolemaic system was wrong!

It took me ages to find out where Venus was, but I did, and after that, clear night after clear night, I too followed followed her phases - just as Galileo had done! Wow! I was seeing just what Galileo had seen - proof that the Earth was not the center of the Universe!

It literaly took years for the buzz to subside. I felt I was walking around with a secret. A knowledge of reality that most others were not aware of.

A short while ago - a few months before the transit - I was accosted by a fellow (and rather aged) dog-walker who pointed out an incredibly bright star on the horizon at sunset.

I mentioned it was the planet Venus and that it looked so bright because nearly 30% of it was reflecting the light of the Sun - almost like seeing a beautiful half-moon. Venus in phase.

"...and proof that the Earth is not the center of the Universe."

"Sorry?" he said.

I explained, briefly, but to his growing astonishment, about Galileo etc'. He expressed an earnest desire to obtain a telescope so he could see this galilean proof for himself.

I took his iPhone off him. Took a photo of Venus, and opened up the digital zoom to display Venus in phase - proof that the Earth is not the center of the Universe.

He thanked me profusely and shook my hand with a firmness that mocked his advanced years. He then walked off muttering to himself and smiling broadly, stopping every now and again to point his camera skywards. More proof of his discovery.

The buzz was back. I'd passed on my secret. I felt great.


Fri, 15 Jun 2012 12:38:39 UTC | #947556