From: Mount Wilson Observatory
Posted: Monday, June 4, 2012
As Venus crosses the face of the Sun on 5/6 June for the last time in this century, Astronomers Without Borders will stream the event live to a worldwide audience from historic Mount Wilson Observatory in Southern California. With experts, authors, and astronomers on hand, and vintage telescopes alongside modern ones, there will be plenty to see and learn about this very rare event and its importance to historical efforts to understand our solar system.
Only six transits of Venus have been observed since the invention of the telescope more than 400 years ago. There were no transits of Venus from 1882 to 2004, and the next one won't take place until 2117.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, scientific expeditions sailed around the world to observe transits of Venus from widely separated locations in an attempt to measure the distance from Earth to the Sun. This basic unit of measure for distance in the solar system is now known with great precision. But transits of Venus provide 21st century astronomers with ways to test their methods for discovering and exploring planets circling distant stars. These unseen planets sometimes cross in front of their stars, slightly dimming the star's light, in an event known as an "exoplanet transit."
The webcast will feature Mike Simmons, President of Astronomers Without Borders, as host, along with guest co-hosts, experts, and others. See the webcast webpage for more on the program: http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/projects/transit-of-venus/live-webcast.html
President, Astronomers Without Borders
+1 818 597 0223
Superintendent, Mount Wilson Observatory
+1 626 222-0141
Astronomers Without Borders is a California-based non-profit organization that brings people together from around the world through a common passion for astronomy. The borderless sky is shared by all cultures and people, and is a resource accessible to everyone. Astronomers Without Borders is a leader in global programs accessible to all people.
Mount Wilson Observatory, located in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles, was founded in 1904. The observatory was the preeminent center of astrophysical research for much of the 20th century. Telescopes used by early astronomers such as Edwin Hubble are still in use at Mount Wilson today, alongside new telescopes and telescope arrays conducting groundbreaking research.
// end //