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Transit of Venus

posted Sunday April 1, 2012

More info
The next Transit of Venus is June 5, 2012 -- and if you miss this one, the next one isn't until 2117!

So what is the Transit of Venus? From our viewpoint on Earth, transits occur when Venus or Mercury pass directly between us and the Sun. The planet doesn't completely block the Sun -- it just appears to be a dot moving across the face of the Sun.

Venus has a transit only twice each century, and this is the second Transit of Venus for the 21st century (the first occured in 2004). Celebrate this rare occasion with Morehead to enjoy views of the transit and lots of fun science activities for the entire family.

Morehead's "Family Science Special: Transit of Venus" is Tuesday, June 5, 5:30-8:30 p.m.. It's free and open to the public.

Most activities take place rain or shine:

  • Watch a special live star show about the Transit in Morehead's GSK Fulldome Theater
  • Learn about safe techniques for viewing the Sun from local telescope experts
  • Use special "eclipse glasses" to view the Transit safely
  • Make your own sundial
  • Make a planet (with our friends from Kidzu Children's Museum!)
  • Observe and measure how shadows change over time
  • Use special beads (sensitive to UV, or ultraviolet, light) to examine the effect of sunlight
  • Take a "Planet Walk" to explore the scale of planetary distances from our Sun
  • Design an original Sun mask

NASA Solar System Ambassadors Mike Malaska and Tony Rice are scheduled to give presentations about the Sun, Venus and what scientists can discover from transits.

If weather permits, Morehead educators plan to lead safe viewing activities outside. UNC faculty members and students with the Morehead Observatory are providing additional opportunities to watch the Transit, including views from a camera attached to a Morehead Observatory telescope.

For more information about the Transit of Venus, visit If you cannot come to "Family Science Special: Transit of Venus," you can still check out the live webcast of the Transit provided by NASA online.