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The Transit of Venus

June 5, 2012
By

Once in a Lifetime Event

 

I, like many others, am intrigued by the stars and the planets. The recent annular eclipse and tonights Transit of Venus across the Sun are events that excite me. It’s an event that is a piece of a very large picture, that picture of the universe.

The evening started off cloudy, with all wondering if we’d be able to see the event, but soon there were clear skies. I was a part of a steady stream of attendees of all ages, who viewed the transit through high-powered binocculars and telescopes set up outside the Planetarium, courtesy of the Vollbrecht Planetarium Open House. Astronomy expert-enthusiasts Cliff Jones, John Tremonti and Mike Best were on hand to guide us through what to look for, facilitate our viewing, and answer our many, many questions.

Inside the Planetarium there was a very entertaining and informative movie about the 2004 Transit of Venus that explained when the transit occurs, in 8-year pairs, every hundred years, and how the transit occurs. We learned the plights of the many explorers and astronomers who ventured to see and document it. We also learned how the Transit of Venus helped astronomers measure the solar system and the distance from Earth to the Sun, 93 million miles. Prior to this one, there have only been 5 alignment pairs of the Transit of Venus since telescopes were invented, in 1639. And this is only because of “sygyzy”—perfect alignment of celestial bodies (the Sun, Venus and Earth). If you miss this Transit of Venus, chances are you won’t see the next one, in 2117.

We were also treated to a live video feed from NASA of the Transit of Venus, projected on the Plantarium dome, as the movie played. Speaking of treats, there was Solar Lemonade and cookies made to resemble the Transit of Venus.

To read more about the Transit of Venus visit: HERE

For more about Vollbrecht Planetarium see: Here

 

 

 

 

 

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