Watch Venus transit with astronomy club

On June 5, as Venus passes between Earth and the sun for the last time this century, members of the Big Sky Astronomy Club will make their telescopes available for the public.

At 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at Flathead Valley Community College, club president Mark Paulson will give a presentation on the significance of this celestial event and what to expect.

Afterwards, anyone can safely view the transit of Venus through telescopes that have special solar filters in place. Venus will be seen as a small dark circle against the bright backdrop of the sun.

The transit begins at 4:05 p.m. and will be in progress as the sun sets at 9:35 p.m.

People are reminded never to look directly at the sun, especially with unfiltered binoculars or telescopes. Even a brief glimpse can cause permanent blindness.

The best method for viewing the transit is through telescopes equipped with solar filters, since the telescope will magnify the image and the filter will prevent eye damage. Other options for safely viewing the transit include pinhole projectors, specially made filters, or watching on TV or online.

Following closely on the heels of the Ring of Fire solar eclipse, the Venus transit promises something much more rare a precise alignment of the sun, the Earth, and another planet. Venus transits usually occur in pairs that are separated by more than 100 years. The upcoming transit had a partner event in 2004, with previous events occurring in 1874 and 1882.

The next Venus transit is not until 2117.

The Big Sky Astronomy Club offers other opportunities for viewing the night sky through telescopes. The club is hosting events at Lone Pine State Park on July 14 and Logan Pass in Glacier National Park on July 20 and Aug. 17.

More information about the astronomy club and the transit can be found at www.bigskyastroclub.org or www.transitofvenus.org.

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(1) Watch Venus transit with astronomy club
URL: http://www.dailyinterlake.com/news/local_montana/article_ae90ca36-ac58-11e1-834e-001a4bcf887a.html



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