Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lament of a lifetime

As I watch one of the timelapse videos of the Venus transit, I find myself pondering my mortality, agonizing over lost opportunities, and other forms of crying over spilt milk. As much as I'm disappointed that I was unable to see the 2012 transit due to it having been night while Venus was transiting the Sun's disk, I can cope with that. I knew about it well in advance, and chose not to spend a whole whop of money getting to a place where I could have seen it. (Bearing in mind that my passport has expired, so I'm not sure where I might have gone.)

The spilt milk that really gets to me is the 2004 transit. That one was visible from South Africa. I definitely would have wanted to see it - I've had the astronomy-interest gene since I was little, perhaps as early as seeing (or imagining seeing, or reconstructing a memory of having seen) the first Space Shuttle mission flying over Cape Town in 1981.

But I only found out about the 2004 transit a few days after it happened.

And now, as I watch a video that can never compare to seeing it with my own eyes (with some extra optics), I realize:

I will never see it. I never have and I never will. The next one is in 2117, by which time I'll most likely be dead (or blind).

Let's hope medical technology improves enough to let me live (with sight!) to the ripe old age of 141.

(Or, I can just wait till 2016 and watch the Mercury transit and hope that that experience extinguishes the post-5-June-2012 angst.)

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