TRANSIT OF VENUS

Entirely lifted from wired.com:

Nearly 130 years ago today, the premier event in astrophysics involved watching a tiny dot slowly sail across the surface of the sun. That dot was our sister planet, Venus, and observing its transit as it passed directly between the Earth and sun was a momentous scientific undertaking.

transit of Venus is one of the rarest astronomical phenomena, occurring in a cycle that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by about 121 years and 105 years. Because of the positions of Earth and Venus around the sun, the transit usually happens twice in close succession, such as the pair in 1761 and 1769 or 1874 and 1882.

The above image comes from 1882, when astronomers were very keen to make accurate measurements of the occurrence. That’s because, until this time, they did not know the exact size of the solar system. Since the 1600s, scientists had been able to calculate the relative positions of the planets but no one knew the specific distance between them.

Using geometry, astronomers knew they could use the transit of Venus to determine how far the Earth was from the sun, producing the Astronomical Unit. We now know this distance is 93 million miles but, a century ago, countries mounted expensive and sometimes dangerous expeditions to the best locations for observing this rare event.

Using a series of 130-year-old images from the Lick Observatory in California, researchers have put together the video below depicting the 1882 transit. Watching it may help you gear up for the next transit of Venus, which will occur on June 5, 2012.

Watch the vid at Wired. It’s a beautiful little animation.

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Great New Music: thisquietarmy, RESURGENCE

THISQUIETARMY’s newest album RESURGENCE is arguably his most accessible and varied record since his debut album UNCONQUERED. It reveals another step forward into the extension of his signature shoegaze/drone-based compositions, incorporating many different elements of post-rock, post-punk, psychedelic, krautrock, industrial & doom. 

As a result, RESURGENCE is an eclectic blend of gauzy textures and rhythms, a fresh reconstruction of his unique musical style and personal influences, and an adventurous ride from one end of the drone spectrum to the other. 

RESURGENCE took 4 years to complete, in between THISQUIETARMY’s previous outputs which have mainly explored the dark ambient/doom-drone realm since the UNCONQUERED sessions. 

The bonus disc of the CD and the bonus tracks on the LP and 7” lay out the amount of compositions that have come through since then. The results can be described as dark, melodic, expansive & engaging dreamscapes. 

Guests on the album include: Meryem Yildiz (vocals) on the track ‘Gone to the Unseen’, Émilie Livernois-Desroches (violin) and Zena Virani (spoken words) appear respectively on the bonus tracks ‘Ballad of a Shepherdess’ and ‘The Cold Vacancy’. James Plotkin mastered the record. All the artwork for the album were illustrated by Mandi A. Morgan. 

For fans of NADJA, ZOLA JESUS, etc. 

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