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The Transit of Venus: A Rare Opportunity

The Transit of Venus: A Rare Opportunity

Posted: May 30, 2012

Observe the Transit of Venus, a rare astronomical event that helped eighteenth-century scientists figure out the size of our solar system, Tuesday, June 5, at Buffalo State's Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium.

The Transit of Venus refers to Venus passing between the earth and the sun in such a way that it can be seen, with proper equipment, as a tiny black orb moving across the sun’s face. Buffalo State’s planetarium will present a special show, “When Venus Transits the Sun,” from May 31 to June 6 at various times. View schedule.

“This is a big event in the astronomy community,” said Kevin Williams, director of planetarium and assistant professor of earth sciences and science education. “It has provided scientists with a lot of information, including earth’s distance from the sun back in the 1700s. Now, we are learning more about the atmosphere on Venus by measuring the light passing through that atmosphere as Venus moves in front of the sun.”

The Transit of Venus will begin at 6:03 p.m. in Buffalo on June 5 and will not occur again until 2117. “We will be showing ‘When Venus Transits the Sun’ here in the planetarium,” said Williams, “and with the help of the Astronomy Club, we’ll take our telescopes—equipped with special solar filters—to the Science Museum, where the public can observe the event directly.”

Photo: Venus on the eastern limb of the sun. Courtesy: NASA/LMSAL

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