The World Around Me

On monday our kitchen reached the stage at which the cooker is removed and not replaced for a week, so we’ve been living off takeaways ever since. Today we’re apparently cooking tea for four people in the microwave, simultaneously. I’m not sure how this feat is being achieved. I suspect our microwave is actually a tardis. I shall later be placing my head inside in an attempt to confirm this. Nothing can go wrong there, surely.

Oop, turns out it’s only for three people. That’s a touch easier. It’s nice that I know what’s going on.

I just watched a ‘Sky at Night’ the tivo picked up last weekend. It covered last Tuesday’s Venus transit, and shamefully I learnt a fair bit. The early transits were actually momentous occasions in the world of astronomy. In the last 1700s, Edmund Halley realised that the position of a planet on face of the sun would appear different from different parts of the world. This difference would allow, by means of trigonometry, the Earth –> Sun distance to be calculated to a fairly high degree of accuracy. This distance, known as the astronomical unit, had never been effectively calculated before. Because the relative distances to the planets were well known, a definitive astronomical unit allowed the actual distances to be calculated. Then, because of Newton’s discoveries that the speed and radius of an orbiting body are proportional to the mass of the body being orbited, the mass of the sun and the masses of the planets could be deduced. From there, theories as to solar system formation could be developed, and so on…So, as it turns out, the transit of venus was more interesting than I might have given it credit for.