Keeping an eye on Venus 0
Portage la Prairie resident Dr. Alan Macklem spent Tuesday evening outside with his telescope trying to capture the transit of Venus.
He has been looking forward to the event for several years.
"The transit of Venus is an event that occurs only twice in a century -- when Venus and Earth are aligned such that you can see Venus cross the face of the Sun," said Macklem, who has been studying astronomy for about 15 years and is passionate about his hobby.
He said in 1769 it was historically important since it was used to measure for the first time the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
"There was an international race, similar to the Russian-American space-race of the 60s going on. In this case, the Brits won out because they had more and better expeditions...," he said.
Macklem explained there was an expedition at the time sent up to Churchill, the Arctic and other places around the world.
"With all these measurements they measured the distance to the Sun with about two per cent accuracy of today's measurements.
"It's a big event that shows there is more outside of our everyday world than we can see," Macklem said. "This is a celestial event. These are the planets roaming around the solar system. They get into certain alignments sometimes, and it's a fascinating thing to watch. The next one will be in 105 years, and there will be another one eight years after that -- but all of us here will probably won't be around at that time. So this is the last chance to see it."