The Transit of Venus

Get ready to Observe a Last-in-a-Lifetime Event, a Transit of the Planet Venus Friday, May 25th, at 7:00 P.M. at Frosty Drew Nature Center & Observatory

On June 5th, 2012, the planet Venus will do something it will not do again for over a century: Pass directly across the face of the Sun. This phenomenon occurs only four times every 243 years, so this is a sight that you might want to mark on your calendars.

Previous transits of Venus were very important in learning the size of the solar system. For centuries, there were no other means of determining the yardstick for measuring the distance between the Earth and the Sun – the astronomical unit. It was known that all the planets were proportion in distance to their motion around the Sun, but to actually measure that distance was very difficult. It was Edmund Halley, of comet fame, who realized the mathematical significance of a planet passing directly across the Sun, and the information that could impart.

On Friday, May 25th, Astronomer Francine Jackson will introduce you to Venus transits, and lead you through the centuries of discovery and observation. She will tell you of many explorers, some of whom risked their lives trying observe this unique phenomenon in order to learn one of the most important measurements in science: The size of our solar system.

Francine Jackson is Director of the Frosty Drew Observatory in Charlestown, RI. She also is on the staff of Brown University’s Ladd Observatory, a Lecturer at Framingham State University, and performs programs at the University of Rhode Island Planetarium. She has studied the historical aspect of transits of Venus for over thirty years.

Please note that the viewing of the Transit of Venus will be held at 4 p.m. on June 5, 2012, in Ninigret Park. There will be activities and food will be available.