Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Venus and Other Distant Sites

Below is the script I intend to have roll across the bottom of the screen when I make a DVD of my video of the Venus transit last month. 

Footage of the Venus Transit

June 8, 2004, at 5:40 AM

Shot in St. Charles, Illinois

By Kent Nebergall

The sound in the background is Kent setting up the other camera.

Venus should appear as a very small dark spot on the right top corner of the sun.

It will slowly move off the sun towards the top of the frame.

The total time for Venus to cross the sun’s disk is three hours.

Right now, at sunrise, the dusky overcast is obscuring this level of detail.

By now, we should be able to see it.

If it doesn’t appear soon, the overall brightness will wash it out before the transit ends.

Well, crap.

Unfortunately, I didn’t bring filters to help with this.

My sunglasses are in the other car, otherwise I’d try that.

Crap, crap, crap, crap, crappity, crap, crap, crap.

I got out of bed at 4:35 AM for THIS??

Oh, well, nice morning, anyway…


The birds are singing…

The light hitting us is one thousandth less bright because of Venus crossing the sun’s disk right now.

And if we could just SEE it, that would mean something.

Really, it IS!!!

Why on earth else would I be out this FREAKING EARLY on a Tuesday?

I have to go to work today, for crying out loud.

I hope the still camera got something.

Let’s check, shall we?

(switch to still images archive)

Ohhhh-kay…. Maybe if we enhance it.

Wait a minute…

There!!! There!!!

No, just kidding…

I did that in Photoshop.

But the real transit should have looked like that.

Here are some shots from the web…

Which I could have gotten…

If I’d stayed in bed.

Next Venus transit in ten years.

If I don’t own a decent telescope in a decade, you have my permission to yell at me.

At least I can honestly say you’ve never seen coverage of the Venus Transit like this before. 

Unless you, like me, are an amateur astronomer with no budget.

Thanks for your patience.

I’ll be planning a trip to Loch Ness for the follow up to this film.

Too bad John Cage is dead… He’d like this film.

I met John Cage once, when I was in college.

He was performing in Chicago, and a car load of us went to see him, and met him afterwards in a receiving line thing.


No, I don’t have any flipping pictures of that either, OK?

Just leave me alone. 

Hit stop or something.

Go out for a beer.  There’s some in the fridge.

Yes, there’s some after the transit… I didn’t drink it all!

You’re waiting for the film to run out, aren’t you?

Just patiently waiting for the next cute line…



How’s it feel?

A lot like the Venus Transit with no filter, right?


I know your pain.

You don’t doubt me about THAT, do you?

I should put this together with my footage of the 1999 Solar Eclipse in Europe.

We filmed it on our honeymoon.

Almost all of it is out of focus because the auto-focus went haywire in the dark.

And my wife's camera ran out of film after one shot, and spent the rest of the elipse rewinding itself.

I’ll make a compilation DVD.

I’ll call it, “When Amateur Astronomy Takes a Dump”.

Hey, I need to get SOME use out of this footage, and in a sense, this is much more entertaining than a dot, isn't it?

OK, unless you count my cat named Dot.

In other news...

The Bank Does What I Want... BUT...

I got a call from my boss today.  It was a call I'd have cut off a finger for at any point up until this month. 

But right now, the only finger I want to give is in a rather less flattering way.

They want to fly me to the home office...
For two weeks, minus the weekends...
Which is three time zones away...
In a beautiful location...




Well, for the first two issues, it appears I'll only really be able to work 9-5 on this job for most days (or so I'm told now), so I can spend my hotel time doing the papers instead of being distracted with cats and laundry and so on.  It may be a good thing.  As for missing the wife, there just is no way around that.  I suppose it will be a dry run for her to be home without me when I do the Mars simulation.  I do the housework and bills, normally. 

And I'll finally do all those things in that town I've been wanting to do - restaurants, a museum, and finally seeing my boss and the rest of my team.  One team member flew in this week to audit our documents.  It was very good to meet her - I hope the rest of the team is that cool. 

But even if they are, missing the wife-stuff really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really sucks a lot.

Yes, really!

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