Press Release

NASA Ames Hosts Live Broadcast of Transit of Venus

By SpaceRef Editor
May 31, 2012
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MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — News media and the public are invited to observe the transit of Venus broadcast live from atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii, beginning at 3:04 p.m. PDT Tuesday, June 5, 2012 in the Exploration Center at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. The June 5th transit will be the final opportunity to witness the rare astronomical reunion until 2117.

The transit occurs when Venus passes directly between Earth and the sun. Viewers will see Venus as a small dot drifting across the golden disk of the sun. There have been 53 transits since 2000 B.C. The rare event occurs in pairs, with the last transit occurring June 8, 2004.

Jeremiah Horrocks, a young English astronomer, recorded the first observation of a transit in 1639. In 1769, survey crews, including Captain James Cook, gathered transit data from various locations around the world that were used to calculate the distance between Earth and the sun and the size of the solar system.

Today, transit events are used to detect planets beyond the solar system. NASA’s Kepler space telescope measures the change in brightness from distant stars when a planet passes in front of the star. Kepler has confirmed 61 planets and more than 2,300 planet candidates using the transit technique.

In addition to seeing the broadcast, attendees will have an opportunity to participate in hands-on activities and safely view the transit of Venus through solar filter glasses and telescopes. Kepler mission scientist, Natalie Batalha, will discuss the Kepler mission and the transit event’s significance. Other Kepler and planetary scientists will be on hand to answer questions.

Reporters must send requests for media credentials to Michele Johnson at by 5 p.m. PDT Monday, June 4, 2012. Batalha and other NASA officials will be available for interviews beginning at 1 p.m. PDT in the Exploration Center.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012 (all times PDT)

– 1:50 p.m.: Welcome from NASA Ames
– 22:30 p.m.: The Kepler Mission and the Transit of Venus, Natalie Batalha, Kepler mission scientist, NASA Ames
– 2:30 p.m. 8 p.m.: Solar observing and Hands-on activities
– 2:45 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Live NASA EDGE broadcast from Mauna Kea, HI
– 3:04 p.m.: Venus begins its six-hour transit


NASA’s Exploration Center is the large white dome located at the main gate of NASA’s Ames Research Center. To reach NASA Ames, take U.S. Highway 101 to the Moffett Field, NASA Parkway exit and drive east on Moffett Boulevard towards the main gate and bear right into the parking lot.

For more information about the worldwide events, safety precautions for viewing, educational content and social media activities, visit:

The public can follow the event on Twitter on #VenusTransit and download a free mobile app at:

NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., manages Kepler’s ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. JPL managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA’s 10th Discovery Mission and is funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.

For information about the Kepler Mission, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.