While the world is oohing and aahing over that little black speck called Venus moving across the Sun, I’m just revelling in the once-in-a-lifetime chance to wear these groovy solar glasses.
The good folk at Wellington’s Carter Observatory gave them to me on my recent trip to New Zealand, and I love them! They’re called Eclipse Shades, and apart from the Maori motifs, one side arm has a picture of the Maori legend of Maui taming the Sun.
I hear that the weather in Wellington is cloudy today, and the view of the transit of Venus is obscured there. That’s a shame, because at Carter they are passionate about all things astronomical and this is a big event. Here in Brisbane, it’s a blue clear sky, and the Sun is beaming down.
Solar specs are vital in order not to fry my eyes, so I obediently don them this morning. Inside them the world is pitch black. Before I go out, I remember to wear matching orange lipstick instead of my usual pink
Through the solar glasses, the Sun is a glowing orange orb. I strain my eyes looking for the slow moving dark pin-head that is Venus. I look some more. I pass the glasses to my friend Marilyn. “”Wow.”
“Can you see it?” asks a passer-by.
Marilyn and I look at each other. She takes another look through the glasses. We both shake our heads. I have another look. The sun is a wonder. The heat from it seems to radiate into the glasses, without burning. But Venus? She is nowhere to be seen. We are, I think, quite simply too far away. Next time we should go somewhere where there’s a telescope and join the queues to look.
Next time? Wishful thinking. Next time this happens will be 2117. Even my children will probably not live to see it. Ah well…at least I looked. And I’m keeping the glasses. I liked looking at the sun. I might do it again sometime, just for the hell of it.