Thursday, May 31, 2012

NASA Visitor Center Offering Venus Transit Viewing

The NASA Visitor Center at the Wallops Flight Facility will be open 5 to 8 p.m., June 5, for the only opportunity until the next century to see the Venus transit of the Sun.

The transit occurs when Venus passes directly between Earth and the sun. Viewers will see Venus as a small dot gliding slowly across our nearest star. Historically, viewed by luminaries like Captain James Cook and even Benjamin Franklin, this rare alignment is how we measured the size of our solar system. The rare event will not occur again until 2117.

During the evening at the Visitor Center, solar viewing glasses will be available to the public to view the transit which begins shortly after 6:09 p.m.

A presentation on the history of viewing the transit and the importance of these observations to our understanding of the solar system will be held at 5:30. The 20-minute presentation will be given by Rob Landis from the Wallops Flight Facility. Landis has been instrumental in supporting the viewing of this transit from the International Space Station. He also will be available to answer questions throughout the event.

In addition, live coverage from NASA TV of the transit will be show in the Visitor Center auditorium. NASA TV coverage will include updates from NASA centers across the country and locations from some of the 148 countries hosting viewing activities.

Images taken of the transit from the International Space Station and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Solar Dynamics Observatory also will be aired with scientists sharing their perspectives and the historical significance of the event.

For more information about Venus Transit worldwide events, safety precautions for viewing, educational content and social media activities, visit:

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