Here is Andrew’s report from his trip last night to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, to pay his respects to the late former President Reagan. In the end, Andrew and his companions (girlfriend Bea and friend Mark) were unable to stay long enough to see the casket, mostly because Bea couldn’t be late or take off work the next day, and they would have been waiting in line well into the morning if they had stayed. So they eventually came home, but they nevertheless had a very moving experience.
Andrew’s caption/commentary accompanying each photo is below the associated photo. All 12 pictures were taken with a cell-phone camera (hence the graininess). Links to his four live audio posts are included at roughly the correct place in the timeline of events.
I’ve just posted a gallery of 11 screenshots from the Exploratorium’s transit webcast, which is how I watched the beginning of the transit live last night. Here’s a shot of “second contact”:
Incidentally, my mom’s transit photos from New York are on their way. She is e-mailing them over as we speak. I will try to post them later tonight; if not, then tomorrow morning.
Below, from left, taking a cell-phone photo of themselves while waiting in line at the Reagan Library last night: Beatriz Duque, Mark Van Lommel, and BrendanLoy.com’s red-eyed, satanic-looking Orange County Correspondent, Andrew Long:
Hehe. Sorry Andrew, I couldn’t resist. :)
But seriously, folks, stay tuned, because a full post featuring all of Andrew’s photos from his Simi Valley adventure — plus his detailed captions and commentary on the moving experience — will be forthcoming later this evening.
UPDATE: All photos now online.
John Kerry paid his respects to the late President Reagan today:
He’s not alone. As our man in Orange County, Andrew, reported via audio last night, tens of thousands of people gave up the better part of a day to visit the Reagan Library and pay their respects to the former president — waiting in line, in some cases, for 7 or 8 hours, after being stalled on the freeway for 3 or 4 hours. Truly remarkable. So much so, in fact, that the library has extended the viewing period through 10:00 PM tonight, instead of the original cutoff time of 6:00. But if you’re not in line yet, you’re too late — they stopped letting people join the queue at 3:00 PM, realizing it would take at least seven hours to get through.
My mom — despite having been, to put it very mildly, not a fan of Reagan — also paid her respects today, in a way. On her way back from viewing the transit of Venus in Central Park, she drove past Grant’s Tomb. She later wrote:
Driving home, I saw that Grant’s Tomb also has flags at half-staff — what could be more appropriate? It’s a small club he and Reagan belong to, and now they both belong to the ages.
In other poigniant Gipper-related news, Nancy Reagan believes that her Alzheimer’s-stricken husband, whose final stages of life had taken him to “a distant place where I can no longer reach him,” actually recognized her on his deathbed, according to the New York Daily News:
I feel that I made the right decision in not traveling to Chicago on a one-day, $200+ trip to watch this morning’s transit. But when I see these photos of the picture-perfect transit viewing at a hill near the Adler Planetarium — the very spot where I would have been had I decided to go — it’s hard not to feel a little wistful:
Oh, well. As they say in Chicago, maybe next year. Or rather, in this case, maybe eight years from now. :)
Michael Sussman, who took the photos above, has more great Chicago transit photos here.
Right concept, wrong insect:
Oh, well. Here are some more neat Venus transit photos, via Yahoo News:
And here’s another cool double transit by Venus and an airplane!
P.S. For those of you who are sick of Venus, fear not, I will attempt to post an update on the day’s other big story — events surrounding the death of Ronald Reagan — before I leave work this afternoon.
P.S. For those of you who are sick of both the Goddess and the Gipper, sorry, I got nothin’. :) Well, except the pornstar story.
USC solar expert and BrendanLoy.com European Venus Transit Correspondent Werner DÃ¤ppen (hehe) sends along this link to some great photos from near where he wanted the transit, in Leiden, the Netherlands. (He adds that he is greatly enjoying the workshop he is attending over there, on “Equation-of-State and Phase-Transition Issues in Models of Ordinary Astrophysical Matter.” Puh. Kids’ stuff. :)
i sent the first post from the [washington heights apartment] after stopping [to watch the sunrise and post-sunrise] at the cloisters, the new leaf [cafÃ©] overlook, and the overlook terrace overlook. it was hard to leave that one because the sun wasn’t far from clearing the cloud cover, but it only took me TEN MINUTES to get downtown, and i was at the hayden [planetarium] by 6:30 a.m., just as the crowd was being let in. one woman was turned away because she had her dog with her on a leash (robbie: “booooo!”) but there were probably between 200 and 300 people who were there. one had a homemade viewer made out of two long triangular fedex boxes, and there were other things.
Mom took a number of pictures at all of her viewing locations — which were, for those who couldn’t keep track, three spots in Washington Heights overlooking the Bronx, plus Central Park — and some or all those photos will be posted sometime tonight.
My dad, for his part (audio report here), watched the transit from our front yard, our street, and my old elementary school, which is just down the street from our house (and which has a lower horizon). He took a lot of video, including “tree leaves, the odd shot of a bird, and a rabbit.” Luckily, he also took some shots of the actual transit. :) “Cloudy but still got some decent footage,” he reports. “Could see Venus clearly through zoom lens, when cloud breaks permitted.” Those images will be here in maybe a week or so. (Unlike my mom, whose photos are digital, my dad actually has to send me the videotape through snail mail.)
Anti-pornstar discrimination in Fairfield County, Connecticut!! It’s a travesty! A miscarriage of justice! A sure thing foiled! Poor kid… :)
The best part is the survey: “Would you let your child take a porn star to prom?” I voted yes, just to be different. (Actually, turns out it’s not that different — fully 39% say “yes” in one form or another… probably because of an influx of votes from rowdy, horny Fark readers. Not surpisingly, the most popular “yes” choice is the old sexist-double-standard answer: “I’d let my son, but not my daughter.” Heh.)
Amid all the transit hoopla, I totally forgot about Game 7 of the National Hockey League finals last night. But that’s okay, because the team I was rooting for — those lovable Canadians, the Calgary Flames — lost. Tampa Bay beat Calgary, 2-1, coming back to win the series 4-3 after trailing it 3-2.
The Lightning win Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time in franchise history, and deny the Flames the opportunity to bring the Cup home to Canada for the first time in 11 years. Oh, well. Maybe next year, Canada.
The database here at work is refreshing some documents right now, which gives me time to post this very, very cool image of the “halo effect” — the Venutian atmosphere, lit up by refracted sunlight, visible as a thin orange line during the planet’s exit (or egress) from the solar disk:
Then there’s this shot of Venus against the solar corona, from the SOHO spacecraft (which is roughly one million miles away from Earth, and thus did not get a direct transit):
Incidentally, don’t miss my mom’s audio-post below, in which she reports: “This morning at 6:45, I saw the transit of Venus at the Hayden Planetarium on their terrace, along with two to three hundred other people. … We looked with our eclipse glasses, and I saw the transit nearly complete… [with Venus] close to the edge [of the Sun]. And it was a remarkable experience.”
Mom (er, that is, BrendanLoy.com Special Venus Transit Correspondent Leanna Loomer) goes on to wish me an equally remarkable transit experience “15 years hence” — which I appreciate, although her math is slightly off; the next transit in 8 years. But that’s all right. :) Thanks for the report, Mom! (And Dad, too!)
Okay, the database is done doing its thing, so back to work now.
BrendanLoy.com Special Venus Transit Correspondent Leanna Loomer reports live from New York City:
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I don’t know if anybody captured an image of the unprecedented double transit by Venus and the International Space Station, but Jacques-AndrÃ© Regnier captured this neat image, from EtrÃ©chy, France, of another sort of double transit — by Venus and an airplane:
Then there’s this lovely photo by “dimbu” in Rolla, Missouri, an unfiltered shot of the sunrise transit:
The photographer reports:
In Rolla, the transit had already begun and was nearing 3rd contact before the sun started rising. Since the sun was fairly low, we were able to see the sun directly and could actually see Venus with the naked eye on the disc of the sun. The picture was taken by holding up the camera to a binocular while holding the binocular by hand!!! The wind made it quite a balancing act, but the result was worth it!
Both of these images come from the SpaceWeather.com transit photo gallery, which will be growing, I’m sure, throughout the day today.
UPDATE: Here’s a similarly awesome image from Perdido Bay, Alabama, by Ray Hayes, via Space.com:
The Sun, seen through a pane of #12 welder’s glass, 2 hours 7 minutes after the transit ended and 1 hour 16 minutes after sunrise in Mesa, AZ:
Nope… definitely no Venus there. :)
Scroll down, though, for BrendanLoy.com’s transit team coverage from the more favorable viewing locations of Newington, CT and New York, NY, as well as from webcasts around the globe.
P.S. Speaking of which, D.C.-area Correspondent Dane Lindberg reports: “Unfortunately efforts here in DC failed. It was a very cloudy, overcast morning, with fog where I was, and given that my planned method for viewing the transit was using a pair of binoculars to project the image… viewing the transit was not meant to be. As a result, no Cicada transit pictures to provide. However, I do plan on trying to catch the rerun in eight years.” Oh, well. Thanks for trying, Dane. :)
I look forward to seeing my parents’ pictures (still awaiting word from Central Park from my mom) and videos. Also, Andrew has promised some photos of Reagan tributes later on.
The transit of Venus is over.
There will be a re-run in eight years. :)
My dad, with John Philip Sousa’s “Transit of Venus March” playing in the background, reported a few minutes ago from Newington, CT: “It was an overcast and cloudy morning in Newington, but I was able to view the Sun between the clouds, and I was able to see the little dot, [the] disc of Venus, crossing the Sun, nearing the end of its transit. … So it was successful, and a very fine thing to see.”
No further word yet from my mom, beyond her initial post stating that she was en route to Central Park after seeing the sunrise — but not, with her naked eye at least, Venus — from Washington Heights.
More on the transit later in the day. For now, here are articles from CNN and the AP. Here’s a gallery of transit photos from the AP and Reuters, and here’s an excellent bunch of photo galleries from www.8june2004.org.
BrendanLoy.com Special Venus Transit Correspondent Joe Loy reports live from Newington, CT:
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