Venus passes across the face of sun in rare heavenly event
Things will be looking up Tuesday, June 5, as folks gaze skyward to view a rare astronomical event called the transit of Venus.
The planet Venus will pass across the face of the sun that afternoon and evening, and Top of Utah residents can watch it happen at two viewing parties.
Compared with eclipses of the sun, which may happen every year, transits of Venus have been seen by humans only seven times since the invention of the telescope in the early 1600s, said Patrick Wiggins, a NASA Solar System Ambassador to Utah, in a news release.
The next transit that will be visible in Utah doesn't occur until 2125.
The transit occurs when Venus passes between the Earth and the sun. The planet will appear as a small dark disk moving across the sun, which is nearly 33 times larger in diameter, said John Sohl, a Weber State University physics professor, in a news release.
Telescopes will be set up at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Weber State University Observatory, located outside the Lind Lecture Hall on campus, 3848 Harrison Blvd. Eclipse glasses will also be available for safe viewing -- no one should look directly at the sun.
Venus will be closet to the center of the sun at about 7:25 p.m.; the end of the transit will not be visible because it occurs after sunset.
The free viewing session will continue until 9:30 p.m., with a nearly full moon also visible. For more information, call 801-626-6871.
Folks may also watch the event during a star party from 4:30 p.m. to sunset at Antelope Island State Park, located west of Syracuse off Interstate 15's Exit 332.
The Ogden Astronomical Society will host the event at the visitor center and answer questions. Members will also help guests look at the moon, Saturn and Mars through telescopes during the evening. Admission to the park is $9 per vehicle.
For more information, call 801-726-8554 or 801-589-8474.
The events will be canceled if the sky is overcast. To find out more about the transit, visit Wiggins' website at www.utahastro.info.