ON WEDNESDAY JUNE 6, the people of Earth will be able to witness a ‘transit of Venus,’ when the planet Venus can be seen moving across the face of the Sun.
“Since the phenomena was first recognised and observed by Jeremiah Horrocks, an English astronomer and clergyman in 1639, there have only been five transits of Venus – 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and 2004,” says Dr Paul Willis, Director of the Royal Institution of Australia.
“By observing a transit, astronomers could, for the first time, calculate the distance from the Earth to the Sun with some accuracy,” he adds. “This had astounding implications for science’s understanding of the universe.
Livestreaming of the transit will be shown on RiAus website on 6 June 2012, from 7:30am – 3pm
“This is the last time people will get the chance to see this until 2117 – and for most of us the chances of being here then are pretty slim,” says Dr Nick Lomb, Curator of Astronomy, Powerhouse Museum. “It’s an experience not to be missed.”
“What many people don’t realise is that Australia has a very real connection to this rare astronomical event,” says Valerie Sitters, Collections Specialist, the State Library of South Australia.
“Lieutenant James Cook was sent to Tahiti on HMS Endeavour to observe the transit that occurred in 1769,” Sitters adds. “He was then ordered to search for the great south land when he discovered and charted the east coast of Australia.”
RiAus transit of Venus livestreaming site: http://riaus.org.au/events/livestreaming-of-the-transit-of-venus/
Adapted from information issued by RiAus.
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