As I write this post, we are only minutes away from the transit of Mercury across the Sun (click this link from EarthSky for a little more information). It was my hope to do my first LiveStream on Sacred Space Astronomy, talking with you live about the transit from my rectory office, showing real time video from my small h-alpha telescope, and give you a presentation about the connection between this transit and the Catholic Priest, Pierre Gassendi. The reason I didn’t promote this little event was because Wisconsin is notorious for cloud cover at this time of year. And, as fate may have it, even though the Weather Channel claims the skies over my house are clear – It’s cloudy.
Nevertheless, Sacred Space Astronomy has wonderful resources about Pierre Gassendi. Christopher Graney wrote a marvelous post about the rare books collection at the University of Louisville that includes Pierre Gassendi’s work, Institutio Astronomica juxta Hypotheses tam Veterum quàm Recentiorum. It was penned by Gassendi to be an introduction to science. I wrote a post on Gassendi the last time there was a transit of Mercury focused on how Gassendi was the first person to record the data of the transit. Click here to take a peak on my past reflection on Gassendi. Though Gassendi’s observation may not hold the historical significance of Monsignor Georges Lemaitre’s “Cosmic Egg,” later dubbed The Big Bang, it is a reminder that Catholicism has had a history of engagement in the sciences, especially astronomy.
Below are two videos. The first is Christopher Graney discussing the rare books library I mentioned earlier and provides some insight into Gassendi along with other Catholic Priest scientists. The second is a YouTube live stream of the transit of Mercury from NASA TV. You can also take a look at real time images of the transit and construct your own “movie” from these images by clicking this link to NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory. You can also see NASA’s SDO real time solar images by clicking on this link for The Sun Now. If the clouds clear, I might jump online later this morning, but, if not, enjoy these resources and have a wonderful Monday!
Live Stream of Mercury Transit