Still got the final few Aussie posts to upload (and Dubai) but since I’m typing this from JFK airport…
Yes, I’ve been home for 6 weeks and and off again – to the US and Canada. The highlight will undoubtedly be Hawaii – I’m going there to see the Venus Transit, the rare occurrence of the planet Venus crossing the path of the sun. It’s rare – VERY rare. There’s a pair 8 years apart, followed by a gap of 105 or 121 years. The one on June 5th/6th is the 2nd of the pair so is a once in a lifetime viewing if you didn’t see the last one. It’ll be the 2nd and final time I get to see it as I doubt I’ll be around in 2117 and even if I make it to my 132rd birthday I doubt I’ll be in a position to travel to this side of the planet again.
I’m heading to Hawaii as it’s by far the best viewing location – most places on the Pacific Rim will be able to see at least a part of it but in Hawaii I’ll be able to see the entire transit – it takes around 6 hours for the full event, so there’s plenty of observing time. Europe will miss most of it, though if you get up very early on the 6th you’ll be able to see the end of it.
Hopefully it will be as good as last time, in the slightly less glamorous location of Birmingham Uni – still, the weather then was perfect and it should be in Hawaii too!
Weirdly, my bag is lighter than it was in Australia, even though I’m carrying a 5kg telescope with me. My bag was always 18kg or more and whilst I posted a fair bit of stuff home it still seemed far fuller than it is here in the US – doesn’t make sense to me, but a lighter bag is definitely something I can’t complain about!
Getting into the US was easy enough, though carrying the solar filter paper in my hand luggage was rewarded with a closer inspection as it went through the scanner in JFK – no such issues in Heathrow.
Before I go to Hawaii I’m stopping in Seattle – home of Fraser Crane. Newport was once called the “new Seattle” so I’m intrigued to see how people came to that conclusion. And since Vancouver is no further away than London is from Manchester, a trip across the border is on the cards – so long as there’s no potential Visa issues getting back into the US.
I’ll be on the west coast for 10 days before flying to Hawaii on June 1st, staying there for 2 weeks before flying home. 27 days away – far less than the 69 I had in Aus and Dubai but still long enough for what should be a very different experience. More soon…