Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Point Venus, Chicago

To reach the Adler Planetarium, our Point Venus for the June 5 transit, I took a train downtown, arriving just before 5 pm. Yuriko, the girls and Lilly's friends were already there, and I was going to meet them. I walked part of the way, but broke down and hailed a cab on Michigan Ave. for the rest of the trip.

At first the cabbie was one for small talk, in Middle Eastern-flavored English, and I mentioned the transit to him. I'm not sure what he made of it. I also said there was an important election going on in Wisconsin, and I'm sure what he made of that, either. But he must have been eager to please his fare, since he found a news station on the radio to listen to while we were stuck in traffic, which was a lot. It was rush hour, after all.

On one station a couple of goofballs were talking about the transit, something along the lines of this can't possibly be interesting because it isn't a CGI three-ring circus. But they did confirm that the transit was under way. So I took out my pair of eclipse glasses and looked at the Sun through the cab window. I could tell the cabbie was trying to see what his odd passenger was up to, but I didn't explain.

I also didn't see anything on the disk of the Sun which, through the glasses, looks like a pale traffic light. But then again the cab soon moved and I lost my view. Traffic on Solidarity Drive, which leads right up to the Adler, was achingly slow, so I paid my fare and walked the rest of the way to find a better vantage point. But first I noticed this statue in front of the planetarium.

It's none other than Copernicus. At that moment, in fact, it was a statue of Copernicus watching the Transit of Venus, something the man Copernicus never got to do.

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