Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Shadows of Venus

No, it is not the tale of some pulp sci-fi novel, though I should probably save that one. What I mean is that this week is the time to discover that Venus is the third body in the solar system capable of casting shadows on earth.
Instructions: Find a dark site (very dark) with clear skies and no manmade lights. Be there at sunset. You'll see Venus glaring in the southern sky: diagram. When the sky fades to black, turn your back on Venus (otherwise it will spoil your night vision). Hold your hand in front of a white screen—e.g., a piece of paper, a portable white board, a white T-shirt stretched over a rock—and let the shadow materialize.

If anyone gets a photo of that, drop me an e-mail with a copy, please.

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