LtE in CMO #255

From  William SHEEHAN

@. . . . . . . . . Dear Masatsugu,

Thank you so much for all the comments on the 1874 transit expeditions to Nagasaki -- they are most interesting, and I will assuredly make good use of them in the transits of Venus book. I have been working hard to finish that project so I can turn to others -- my expectation is that it will be finished by March (my part, at any rate; my collaborator, John Westfall, will set his own schedule, of course).


 As a final chapter, I am thinking of adding a prediction -- or prophecy-- of what conditions on Earth might be like at the 22nd  Century transits, in 2117 and 2125, and am asking my friends to make their projections. What will the world be like at that time? You needn't feel obliged -- even H. G. Wells failed to accurately foresee the future -- but I would be interested in your giving this some thought and sharing your views.


 I have given up on observing Mars, as most here have, but am looking forward with anticipation to the beginning of the Mars Odyssey mission in February of next year. Martin Gaskell of the University of Nebraska has also expressed an interest in writing up the Martian flare observations for "Icarus" -- we will see if anything comes of that.


 We are all gearing up for the occultation of Saturn by the Moon on February 20, 2002 -- you may have seen the article I co-authored with Tom Dobbins, "A rare opportunity to glimpse Saturn's 'lost ring,'" in the February 2002 issue of Sky & Telescope, pages 102-107. There is another occultation on March 20, visible from Siberia and northeastern Asia -- I'm not sure if it will be seen in Japan.


 I am enthusiastically looking forward to visiting you in Japan in the next year or two -- perhaps we can set up a conference on Mars, Percival Lowell, or the Nagasaki transit expeditions; why not all three!  Meanwhile, did you know that Michael Crowe's "Extraterrestrial Life Debate" book has been translated (in three volumes) into Japanese. I believe it is out by now.

 With deepest regards,

(31 December 2001 email)


 (Note)  See also Dobbins and Sheehan’s "A Rare Opportunity to Glimpse Saturn's Lost Ring" in S&T Nov 2000, pp117 - 121. (Mk)

  Bill SHEEHAN  (Willmar, Minnesota, USA )

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