SC State Observes Venus Transit - A Once (or twice) in a Lifetime Event
Students, faculty and members of the general public turned out to watch a real-time event that occurs only once or twice in a person's lifetime, a transit of the planet Venus. On June 6, 2012, approximately 100 people converged on the field behind Felton Laboratory School on the campus of SC State University. Telescopes, computers and other instruments were manned by SC State physics faculty members Jennifer Cash, Dan Smith and Don Walter and summer astronomy interns Johnae Eleby, Will Hernandez, Charles Kurgatt, Maria Martinez, Myles McKay and Byran Pugh.
A transit of Venus occurs when the planet passes between the Sun and the Earth. Observers on Earth see the dark shadow of Venus slowly move across the solar disk. Telescopes with special filters are needed to protect an individual's eyes from intense solar light.
This type of event occurs when the orbital motion of the Earth and Venus are properly aligned, something so rare it occurs only every 120 years or so. When this does happen, there are two separate transits, eight years apart. The recent pair of Venus transits occurred in 2004 and 2012. The previous pair occurred in 1874 and 1882 and the next event will not happen until 2117 and 2125.
In addition to the photographs below taken at the SC State event on June 6, 2012, additional online in background information and NASA satellite movies can be found at: