Press Release

PSI Invites Public to Two Transit of Venus Viewing Events June 5

By SpaceRef Editor
May 30, 2012
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May 30, 2012, Tucson, Ariz. — The Planetary Science Institute invites the public to two free Tucson-area events June 5 that offer a rare opportunity to view Venus passing directly between the Earth and Sun, the last time this will happen in our lifetime.

The Transit of Venus will see the darkened disk of Venus begin to glide across the face of the Sun about 3 p.m. and will be visible until the Sun sets.

“This transit offers an opportunity for us to see a planet move across the face of the Sun, a truly unique event to witness in person,” said PSI Education Specialist Sanlyn Buxner, who organized the local Transit of Venus events. “We hope that many people will join us for these free public events to celebrate this celestial phenomenon.

“As always, don’t look directly at the Sun as it can quickly cause permanent damage to your eyes,” Buxner said. “Be sure to use special solar viewing glasses, not sunglasses, use pinhole cameras, or other appropriate protective eyewear when viewing the transit.”

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive, will be the site of a Friends of PSI Transit of Venus event from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Guided by astronomy professionals, guests will be able to look at the Sun through telescopes with special filters as well as view live video feeds of the Venus Transit from NASA. Special solar-filter glasses will be available for safe viewing of the event.

PSI Senior Scientist Steve Kortenkamp will offer talks titled “The Science of Transits from 1761 to 2012” at 4 and 4:30 p.m. that will discuss the scientific significance of transits through history.

“In 1761 scientists and observers scattered to the far corners of the Earth to view the Transit of Venus in an attempt to more accurately determine the distance between the Sun and Earth,” Kortenkamp said. “It was the big thing in all of science at that time. They were trying to determine how big the solar system is.”

Currently scientists use transits of other planets around other starts to discover new planets, Kortenkamp said.

Following the viewing activities a Transit of Venus happy hour will be held in the resort’s Cascade Lounge beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The public is also invited to attend a Venus Transit event will run from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the University of Arizona campus.

Telescope viewing of the Venus Transit will be available on the east end of the UA Mall. Activities for kids and families, live video feeds of the transit from observatories all over the world, and presentations by PSI Senior Education Specialist Larry Lebofsky will take place inside UA Science: Flandrau and Gerard P. Kuiper Space Sciences buildings at East University Boulevard and North Cherry Avenue.

The June 5 event marks your last chance to see a Transit of Venus. It won’t happen again until 2117.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Sanlyn Buxner
Education Specialist

Mark V. Sykes

SpaceRef staff editor.