Transits of Mercury happen about 14 times per century, whenever the innermost planet passes directly between the Earth and the Sun. It’s basically the same concept as a solar eclipse, but because Mercury is so much further away from the Earth than the Moon is, its shadow is much smaller and therefore it only hides only a very small portion of the Sun’s surface when it “eclipses” it. So it looks like a little dot travelling across the Sun’s surface. You need at least a small telescope and a solar filter to see it.
Unfortunately, this transit won’t be visible from the West Coast. The big event that I’m personally looking forward to is the rarer and more dramatic Transit of Venus next June. Because Venus is bigger and closer to the Earth than Mercury, its transits can be seen with the naked eye — propertly protected by welder’s glass or some other solar filter, of course. The 2004 Venus transit won’t be visible from the West Coast, either… but I’ll be on the East Coast then! (At least, I probably will.)
Still, the transit of Mercury is cool. If you’re on the East Coast (north of South Carolina) and you have the proper equipment, check it out at sunrise this Wednesday, May 7! For full transit coverage, including links to live webcasts, visit SpaceWeather.com.
My 16-to-20-page final paper for my Journalism Honors Seminar is due in 20 hours, and I’m about to… start it.
Well, I’ve done some of the research already, but I haven’t written a word.
Gearing up for an all-nighter…
(Hopefully neither my professor nor my TA will happen upon my website today…)
My two women:
I love how Becky and Toby both seem to be giving me the exact same look, which I would roughly translate as: “What the heck are you doing with that camera?” Or, perhaps more simply, “Leave me alone!”
I went to the last on-campus SoCal VoCals concert of the school year last night.
I have to say, the concert was surprisingly emotional for me — not that I cried or anything, but I felt quite sad to be at my last VoCal concert. It was the sort of I’ll-really-miss-this feeling that I often experienced at milestones during my senior year of high school, but that I haven’t been feeling nearly as much in recent weeks as my undergrad years wind down. Then again, aside from academic stuff, I think the two most constant things in my life through my four years at USC have been Becky and the SoCal VoCals. :)
Funny thing was, as they introduced each of the graduating VoCals (Adam Blain, Emily Parry, Jessica Bolger, James Snyder, Barry O’Neil and Julie Moffitt), I felt a pang of “Oh, I’ll miss him” or “Oh, I’ll miss her” for each one… as if it makes any difference who’s graduating and who’s not. I’m graduating!!! I’ll miss them all!!!
Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of seniors’ farewell performances:
Emily and Barry did a wonderful rendition of “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge
Julie with one last heart-stopping performance of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”
In addition to being a great concert musically, the show also had some emotional moments, like Amy Thomas’s tearful tribute to Emily…
…and plenty of funny moments, like the hilarious bit of choreography during the “Footloose” medley when, while singing “I Need a Hero,” the female VoCals fawn over the not-exactly-hunky Ryan Alvarez:
Lisa Townsend’s virtual on-stage confession to having a crush on Adam was also quite memorable. :)
And James’s performance of “Fire in Your Hand” (for which he was named runner-up for Best Soloist in the western U.S. at the ICCAs) was sensational. I still have that song running through my head at this very moment, actually, hours after the concert ended.
Adam also had a couple of great solos, including “Motorcycle Driveby,” an old Bryce Ryness number (Bryce graduated last year) that was always one of my favorites. It was nice to hear the VoCals sing it again, and Adam really put his all into it. And the new song, “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge, was great, with a wonderful (and wonderfully cute) duet by Emily and Barry.
The highlight for me, though, was Julie’s performance of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” I have loved her rendition of that song ever since the first time I heard it. To give you an idea of just how much I love it, during my freshman year when they had yet to release a recording of Julie singing the song, I actually created a low-quality bootleg MP3 from my videotape of her singing it at a nearby dorm. Then, during sophomore year, when a recording of it was released on the Best of College A Capella CD a few weeks ahead of the release of the new VoCals’ CD, I bought the BOCA CD the very first day it was available online, and had it shipped via, like, two-day mail or something, so that I could get my hands on it ASAP. :)
Well anyway, Julie hasn’t been with the group for most of this school year, so I hadn’t gotten to hear her sing “Total Eclipse” in quite a while. (Lisa does a great rendition, too, but Julie is the original, and you can’t top the original.) Well anyway, last night, she was back with a vengeance. Her performance was as powerful and sultry as ever. I personally gave her a standing ovation afterward. I’ll definitely miss Julie and that song. :)
Well, I’d better stop fawning before Becky gets mad at me. (It’s the song I have a crush on, Becky, not the girl, I swear!)
Thanks for the memories, VoCals!!!