Skip to main content
Skip to main content

WKU News

WKU hosting Transit of Venus viewing party June 5 for once-in-a-lifetime event

WKU hosting Transit of Venus viewing party June 5 for once-in-a-lifetime event

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.

More information on the transit is available online at http://transitofvenus.org; http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2012/transit and http://www.exploratorium.edu/venus/.

Contact: Richard Gelderman, (270) 745-6203.

Categories
All News  Now Viewing Category: All
Media Relations
President Caboni News
CEBS
CHHS News
GFCB
Ogden News
PCAL
Academic Affairs
WKU Regional Campuses
Glasgow News
Etown & Fort Knox
Owensboro News
Transportation
The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky
The Center for Gifted Studies
Police
Emergency Preparedness
Facilities
Housing & Residence Life
Student Activities and Organizations
Augenstein Alumni Center
Campus Activities Board
The Confucius Institute
Cultural Enhancement Series
DELO News
Department of Music
Department of Theatre & Dance
Development and Alumni Relations
Downing Museum
Downing Student Union
Employee Wellness
Hardin Planetarium
Health Services
Human Resources News
Instruments of American Excellence
International Student Office
Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport
Library News
Math News
Office of International Programs
Office of Research
Office of Sustainability
Parent's Association
School of Journalism & Broadcasting
Student Financial Assistance
Scholarships Student Financial Assistance
Student Employment
Student Government Association News
Student Research Council
Study Abroad
Van Meter Auditorium
WellU
WKU Educational Leadership Doctoral Program News
WKU Joint Admissions
WKU Parent and Family Weekend
Latest Headlines
The ultimate cheat sheet on finding the right college

Don’t worry; there are a few steps that you can take early in the process to ensure that you’re able to find the right fit.

PS1 Entrance Ramp on Ave of Champions Closed

June 27th-30th

WKU's KY Folklife Program to host Rural-Urban Exchange cohort

The Kentucky Folklife Program, housed in WKU’s Department of Folk Studies & Anthropology in Bowling Green, is serving as a regional host partner for the 2017 Rural-Urban Exchange Community Intensive.

Featured Articles
Gatton Academy Students Conducting Summer Research in South Korea

Two Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky students are spending their summer completing research internships in South Korea. The 10-week internships are in the Chemistry Department of Changwon National University.

With Spirit Funder support, WKU Storm Chasers documented multiple tornadoes

This year for Dr. Josh Durkee’s annual Field Methods in Weather Analysis and Forecasting class, the students had some extra support in the form of WKU’s new crowdsource funding project, Spirit Funder.

Board of Regents to hold special budget approval, committee meetings June 23

The WKU Board of Regents will hold a special budget approval meeting and committee meetings on June 23 in the Martin Regents Room, Jody Richards Hall.

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,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 
 Last Modified 5/2/17