CELESTIAL EVENT OF A LIFETIME
Rare transit of Venus viewing: June 5, 2012 from 3‐9 p.m. at OMSI
Portland, OR (May 29, 2012) The last to occur in our lifetime, a rare celestial event called a transit of Venus is set to transpire on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and the Rose City Astronomers Club will host a free transit of Venus viewing party in OMSI’s south parking lot for this exciting occurrence. Filtered solar telescopes and indirect viewing methods will be available for safely observing the transit. NASA TV and San Francisco’s Exploratorium will display the transit of Venus from viewing sites around the world. OMSI will show their broadcasts live in the museum’s auditorium. The auditorium doors will open at 2:30 p.m. and admission to the televised transit is free (no reservations required).
A transit of Venus is the observed passage of the planet Venus across the disk of the sun. It occurs when Venus, orbiting the sun “on the inside track,” catches up to and passes the slower Earth. To viewers, Venus will appear as a small dot in the foreground, making its passage (or “transit”) from left to right across the face of the sun.
For Portland, the transit will commence at 3:05 p.m. when Venus appears to the east of the Sun. The greatest transit movement will occur at 6:29 p.m. when Venus appears just off-center to the right of the northern area of the sun. The sun will set at 8:55 p.m. and the transit will end at 9:44 p.m. as Venus exits to the west of the sun.
It is important to use eye protection or indirect viewing techniques when observing this transit activity. Viewers should use only an approved solar filter which blocks dangerous ultraviolet and infrared radiation as well as visible light. Special solar viewing glasses are available at the OMSI Science Store for $2 (http://www.omsi.edu/science-store).
Transits of Venus always occur in pairs that are spaced eight years apart. Each pair of occurrences is then not repeated for more than a century. For example, the last transit of Venus took place on June 8, 2004, and of course the next one will be visible this June of 2012. The previous pair of transits occurred in December, 1874 and December, 1882. After 2012, the next transits of Venus will take place in December, 2117 and December, 2125.
Learn how to view the Venus transit with the experts by joining us for the event at OMSI! You can find more information by visiting http://www.omsi.edu/starparties or by calling 503.797.4000.
Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction, and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call 503.797.4000 or visit http://www.omsi.edu.