Venus to Redlands
On Wednesday 6 June, many Redlands students were excited to be witnessing a never-to-be-repeated moment in any of their lives, with the Transit of Venus.
Following a very stormy night, all students in Years 3-12 had the opportunity to don a pair of protective glasses and observe this scientific phenomenon during the breaks in the clouds, as well as looking at it through one of the School's four telescopes.
Cries of "Wow, this is so cool" emanated from each Junior School class on the roof of the Prep School building; and the Secondary School students in the Arts Precinct in the Senior Campus were similarly inspired.
The students had been eagerly looking forward to the day following very stimulating presentations about the event over the previous two weeks by Assistant Coordinator of Science, Mr Jon Gray. Mr Gray was appropriately dressed as Captain Cook who sailed to the Southern Hemisphere and observed the Transit of Venus in 1769. Not only did the students learn about the scientific significance of the event but also the historical context as well.
"This is a splendid example of what we are aiming to do with our Redlands Learning Platform - inspiring and exciting the students about learning and getting them actively involved in their learning rather than just have them sitting behind desks listening to their teachers," said Redlands Principal, Dr Peter Lennox.
"The expressions on the students' faces when they observed the transit were a wonderful example of Responding with Wonderment and Awe - one of Costa's 16 Habits of Mind, which are also part of the Redlands Learning Platform," said Dr Lennox.
Here's what some of the Year 5 students had to say about their experience:
"It was exciting because I'm only going to be able to see it once and I did so I made the most of it and that from now it'll be about 105 years until we can see it again." Marcus Howes
"Captain Cook used the Transit of Venus to calculate how far away we were from the sun, which is pretty amazing." Audrey Trenear
"I thought it was really cool that Venus was right over the sun and we could see it. I'm going to tell my children that their children can see the Transit of Venus and that the Transit of Venus is really cool to watch." Ella Steidle
"I thought it was really cool and a great experience It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was amazing that we got the chance to see it that one time." Alexandra Deegan
The Transits of Venus occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by gaps of 121½ years and 105½ years.
Since the phenomena was first recognized there have only been six transits of Venus - 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and 2004. The 6th June 2012 transit is our last opportunity to observe a transit of Venus, as the next event occurs on 11th December 2117.