A rare and extraordinary astronomical event is taking place this Tuesday and Wednesday, June 5th and 6th: Venus is “transiting…” – the transit part means that the planet Venus is crossing the face of the sun – it’s a rare event that closes an eight-year cycle … that recurs every 120 years…. (Some of you may remember – and may have seen – the Venus Transit of June 2004… the next time this happens is in 2117.) The Planetarium in Carrara is hosting an evening on the Pontile di Marina di Massa – the Pier – where we may get a chance to actually see the rare conjunction. This event follows the Planetarium’s “Astronomy hidden in Dante’s Divine Comedy” seminar, which they held in May, about the famed Italian writer’s veiled references to astronomical events and lore.
The picture above is of Canova’s “Venus Italica”… a truly lovely Venus transiting coyly – it’s a breathtaking interpretation of the divinity in pure white Carrara marble. The planet, as it crosses the face of our star, will look more like a 6-hour beauty mark. The following photo was taken by Jan Herold during the 2004 transit.
The pentagram, and no, not the influential british design studio… but the ancient symbol, the five-pointed star, appears in the earliest cuneiform tablets and clay seals. It has been associated with positive change and fertility as well as the occult, ultimately being appropriated by the neo-pagan culture and the heavy metal bands. The symbol has been around for a long time – we link to a wikipedia page on its history. It is also known as pentalpha, pentangulum, Druid’s Cross the Signum Pytagoricum, or when surrounded by a circle: a pentacle.
Some people ascribe “venusian qualities” of harmony, peace, love, and proportion … and even “order” to the rare astronomical event. The 8-year cycle when the planet Venus comes between the earth and the sun completes a perfect five-pointed star design, a loaded symbol, an arcane geometric figure that the ancients ascribed great meaning to – artists have known about and incorporated aspects of that meaning into their work – for centuries. Artists like Botticelli, renaissance master and enigma to this day.
Youngastronomers post a video showing the pattern of Venus’ and earth’s astral dance worth seeing:
For some reason the hospitality & hotel industry seems attuned to the more arcane ramifications of the Planetary alignment… We link to an article from a
hotel … Lodge in Britisch Columbia on the esoteric and occult significance of “Venus and the Pentagram.”
And modern technology aligns with the ancient science as a group of astronomy enthusiasts has joined with leading geographic information systems companies to create smartphone apps for the transit. According to news agency ANI:
Owners of mobile devices using the Apple and Android operating systems can now take part in the largest such effort ever, thanks to a new free app developed by Steven van Roode of the Transit of Venus Project.
Anyone can emulate the expeditions of old without leaving home or making lengthy measurements of their location or local time.
Just a few clicks on a smartphone is enough, and many thousands are expected to join in. The technology used was not available even for the Venus transit in 2004 – the only other transit to occur since the 19th century – ensuring that this project will see unprecedented participation.
The web app, created by Astronomers Without Borders, can be accessed from any web browser, and adjusts for mobile as well as desktop platforms. The dynamic app provides several ways for users to learn about the transit and interact with others watching it around the world.
You can download the app for your android or iphone here.
And for more “information” we post a more-than-slightly zany video on the idea of the “incomplete pentagram” … in Goethe’s Faust, and … well, here and there.
For additional info on this and other events at the Planetario di Carrara and for reservations call their hotline and leave a message at 333/1731533, and we link to the Planetarium website: http://www.planetariocarrara.it