Rare Astronomy Occurrence Viewed from Campus
Ariel Chaffin | University Relations | 7 June 2012
The BYU–Hawaii Biochemistry and Physical Science Department readied their telescopes to capture the transit of Venus on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. As Venus passed between the Earth and the Sun, professors from the department helped visitors in using telescopes and answering questions about the once-in-a-lifetime natural event. Since the next transit of Venus will not be until 2117, it was a unique experience to witness Venus pass in the Sun’s light. While the cloud cover periodically obstructed the view of Venus, it did not deter would-be astronomers from trying their hardest to see the event.
In addition to the equipment set up outside, a live feed from the Mauna Kea observatory (Big Island) was shown in a nearby classroom. Professor Daniel Scott explained the significance of this event: “The first few observed transits of Venus allowed early astronomers to accurately gauge the distance from the earth to the sun.” Professor Michael Weber added, “We love to provide students with opportunities to understand the solar system, and this was a rare occurrence so it is very exciting for us.”