Venus Transit 2012
Tuesday, June 5, 2012, 5-11pm
The OSU Astronomy Department will be holding a public program to observe the Transit of Venus across the Sun on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, from 5:00-11:00pm on the OSU Main Campus in Columbus Ohio. We will be holding a number of activities to mark this rare event, including transit observing with specially equipped solar telescopes for safe viewing, public talks, and a post-transit star party to observe planets and star clusters in the spring sky.
This event is free and open to the public.
It is extremely dangerous to view the Sun with the naked eye without proper equipment! Permanent eye damage or blindness can result.
On June 5, 2012, the planet Venus will transit the face of the Sun as seen from the Earth. This is an extremely rare occurence: Venus transits occur every 105 or 121 years in pairs 8 years apart. The current transit season began in June 8, 2004, and this is the second and final transit of the pair. The next Venus Transit will not occur until December 11, 2117, 105.5 years from now, so this is your last chance to view this literally once in a lifetime astronomical event.
From Columbus, Ohio, the transit will begin a little after 6:00pm when Venus just starts to touch the limb of the Sun ("First Contact"), and be fully inside the limb of the Sun ("Second Contact") about 18 minutes later. From there, we will only be able to watch about 2 hours of the 6.5 hour transit before the Sun sets at 8:58pm.
Venus Transit Programs
Pre-Transit Public Talk: 5:00pm, McPherson Lab Room 2015
OSU Astronomy Professor Richard Pogge will present a brief public talk on Venus Transits at 5pm in McPherson Laboratory room 2015 (2nd floor, south end of the building). This talk lasts 40 minutes and be followed by questions.
A repeat of the talk will be given at 8pm in Smith Lab Room 1009
Venus Transit Observing: 6:00-8:50pm, Smith Lab Roof
We will have specially-equipped solar viewing telescopes with high-performance safety filters setup on the rooftop observatory of Smith Laboratory for public viewing under the supervision of astronomers from the OSU Astronomy Department.
Post-Transit Public Talk: 8:00pm, Smith Lab Room 1009
Night-time Viewing Program: 9:00-11:00pm
Starting at 9pm the sun will have set, and Saturn and Mars will be rising in the eastern sky. View these planets, nebulae, and ancient star clusters through our telescopes, learn about the constellations, and enjoy the spring night sky.
If the weather is cloudy, we'll have OSU astronomy professors and graduate students on hand in Smith Lab 5024 to answer questions and view live feeds of the Venus transit provided by NASA.
Visitor parking is available in the Tuttle Park Place parking garage. Most of the OSU campus is a pedestrian zone so there is little or no parking next to Smith Laboratory. Smith Laboratory is located between 18th and 19th Avenues on the OSU Main Campus in Columbus Ohio. There is no parking near Smith Laboratory.
While the Smith Laboratory Planetarium is accessible by elevator, we apologize that the observatory roof area is only accessible by multiple flights of steep stairs (Smith Lab is an old, pre-ADA building dating from the 1950s).
Please contact one of the event organizers for more information
Bad Weather Program
Because central Ohio weather is unpredictable, please watch this page leading up to the event for weather cancellation notices. In case of bad weather, we will still hold the public lectures and Q&A sessions while hosting the live NASA feed of the Venus Transit, but we will not set up any telescopes on the roof.