WKU hosting Transit of Venus viewing party June 5 for once-in-a-lifetime event
|Date: Tuesday, May 29th, 2012||Return to Archive|
It won’t happen again for 105 years.
On June 5, Venus will pass between the Earth and the sun, and WKU is helping the public view this once-in-a-lifetime event.
The Transit of Venus viewing party will begin at 5 p.m. in Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium and continue until sunset. During the free event, participants will have access to special protective solar viewing shades, be able to view the transit through telescopes provided by WKU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and view on the scoreboard a live feed of the transit from NASA telescopes in Hawaii.
Other activities for younger audiences are also being planned, according to Physics and Astronomy Professor and Hardin Planetarium Director Richard Gelderman.
“The June 5, 2012, transit of Venus is a truly rare celestial phenomenon,” Dr. Gelderman said. “There are only six times that this event has been observed by humans, the most recent being in 1882 and 2004.”
During the transit, he said Venus will appear as a black dot about 1/30th the apparent diameter of the sun, and it will slowly move across the sun’s disc.
“Observers should also expect to see clusters of sunspots on the sun,” he said. “And when Venus first touches the edge of the sun, it is likely we will be able to see the ‘black drop’ effect where Venus appears elongated.”
Provost Gordon Emslie said observers may have noticed that Venus has been sinking in the evening sky as it approaches the sun, a prelude to the rare transit.
“The faculty and staff of the Department of Physics and Astronomy has worked hard to assemble a program that allows viewing of the transit safely, and experts will be on hand to answer questions,” Dr. Emslie said. “We are excited to provide the citizens of our region with an opportunity to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event.”
The transit has historical and scientific significance, Dr. Gelderman said. In 1716, astronomer Edmond Halley calculated that the distance from the sun to the Earth can be determined by having observers across the globe time the passage of Venus across the sun.
“These transits are extremely rare and Halley did not live to see the next transit,” he said. “However, the quest to time the very next transit of Venus—in 1761 during the Seven Years War—marked one of the first times the international community cooperated to answer one of the leading scientific questions of the day—How big is our solar system? For every transit opportunity since then, explorers sailed to distant lands to time the transit.”
During this event, light passing through Venus’ atmosphere and reflecting off the moon will be analyzed by the Hubble Space Telescope’s spectrometer in an attempt to determine the planet’s chemical composition, he said.
The transit has even been celebrated in music. John Philip Sousa composed the “Transit of Venus March” after the 1882 transit, he said.
Contact: Richard Gelderman, (270) 745-6203.
- All Categories
- March 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS October 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2012 E-Newsletter
- April 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS November 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2013 E-Newsletter
- JUNE 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS May/June 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2013 E-Newsletter
- Archived CHHS News
- CHHS October 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2015 E-Newsletter
- December 2015 ICYMI
- January 2016 ICYMI
- MAY 2016 ICYMI
- February 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS July 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2011 E-Newsletter
- All Categories
- Academic Outreach
- Continuing & Professional Development
- Online Learning
- Summer Sessions
- Winter Term
- Career & Workforce Development
- Lifelong Learning
- Society for Lifelong Learning
- WKU On Demand
- Study Away
- Faculty-Led Study Abroad
- Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning
- Cohort Programs
- Dual Credit
- Training Resources & Event Planning Services
History will be made on Nov. 29 when WKU will get its first chapter of SALUTE, a national honor society for student veterans. Seven charter members will be inducted into SALUTE at 5 p.m. in the Veterans Resource Center, 410 Tate Page Hall.
Three alumni from WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology who work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have been assigned to Puerto Rico to assist in post-hurricane recovery efforts.
The Department of Student Financial Assistance will be closed from Wednesday, Nov. 22nd through Friday, Nov. 25th. The office will reopen on Monday, Nov. 27th.
Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,