UH Astronomy to provide safe Venus transit viewing venues

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Donna Bebber, (808) 741-1741
Institute for Astronomy
Posted: May 18, 2012

On June 5, 2012, from noon until dusk, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa will provide facilities for the public to safely view the transit of Venus—Venus crossing the disk of the sun—at Waikīkī Beach, at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, and at Ko Olina Resort near Lagoon 4. The transit of Venus is a rare event that will not be repeated until 2117.


At each location, IfA will distribute free “solar viewers” to allow people to look at the sun without damaging their eyes. There will also be telescopes equipped with solar filters to give people a better view of this event. Experts advise to never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection.  Sunglasses do not provide enough protection.


No transits of Venus occurred in the 20th century, and the 2004 transit was not visible from O‘ahu. Hawai‘i and Alaska are the only states where this event can be viewed in its entirety. In the contiguous 48 states, the sun will set before the transit is over. In Honolulu, the transit will begin at 12:10 p.m. and end at 6:45 p.m.


The Waikīkī Beach viewing site will be at the Sunset on the Beach location toward the Diamond Head end of Kalakaua Avenue, where there will be screens showing webcasts of the transit as viewed from Mauna Kea and Haleakala. There will also be robotics displays and other science and technology activities for children and adults.


The Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is located on Ford Island. While the museum usually charges an admission fee, viewing the transit of Venus and related activities will be free, and the museum will stay open until dusk. In addition to viewing the transit, those who come to this venue will be able to see a show in the IfA’s StarLab planetarium and a robotics display, and there will be other demonstrations and activities for children and adults.


The Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl harbor is located on an active military base, and a military or Department of Defense identification is required. You may also make a reservation by providing the vehicle year, make, model, and license plate number of your car, and a government-issued ID number for each adult in the vehicle in an email to SpecialEvents@pacificaviationmuseum.org or by calling the museum at (808) 441-1007.  Tickets may also be purchased to the museum at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center where visitors may take the free shuttle bus to the museum.


The public is also invited to view the transit at Ko Olina Resort near Lagoon 4. Assisting IfA personnel there will be Greg McCartney and Stars Above Hawaii, as well as amateur astronomers. There will be free activities such as robotics, swimming in the lagoon, and others.


On May 30, IfA will sponsor a free panel discussion about the transit of Venus in the Art Auditorium on the Mānoa campus. IfA astronomer Paul Coleman will speak about the role of Hawai‘i during the 1874 transit of Venus; IfA solar physicist Shadia Habbal will speak about the sun and its connection to Venus and Earth; Peter Mouginis-Mark, director of the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at UH Mānoa, will talk about Venus itself; and IfA’s Roy Gal will speak about the transit on June 5. Free solar viewers will be distributed. For more information about this Frontiers of Astronomy Community Event, go to http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/transit/panel.shtml.


For the most up-to-date information on the transit of Venus, go to http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/transit/.


Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea.


The University of Hawai`i at Mānoa serves approximately 20,000 students pursuing more than 225 different degrees.  Coming from every Hawaiian island, every state in the nation, and more than 100 countries, UH Mānoa students thrive in an enriching environment for the global exchange of ideas.  For more information, visit http://manoa.hawaii.edu. Follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/uhmanoa and Twitter http://twitter.com/UHManoaNews.

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