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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Special Observing Events

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**** Special Observing Event ****

View the Transit of Venus

A transit of Venus will occur on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, when Venus will be observed to pass across the disk of the Sun. Observers in Minnesota will be able to view the first half of the transit, with the Sun setting while Venus is about half way across its disk. Such events are quite rare, with the next Venus transit occurring in 2117 – over a century in the future.

A transit is difficult to observe because it involves seeing the small black disk of Venus against the Sun's bright surface. Viewing the event requires a telescope to magnify the planet such that it can be seen, and also a safe method for observing the Sun. One may either project the Sun's image onto a screen or use a telescope with a good solar filter. Great care must be taken in observing the transit as looking directly at the Sun can cause serious damage to the eyes.

The public is invited to safely observe the transit on the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato, where astronomers will operate several solar telescopes on the Trafton plaza. The transit will begin just after 5:00 PM on June 5; viewing will continue as long as the Sun is visible above the horizon. Clouds or rain may shorten or cancel the planned observations.

Parking will be available along Maywood Avenue and in Lot 16, north of the Performing Arts Center. A short walk through the Wissink/Nelson arch will bring visitors to the Trafton observing site on the 2nd floor level, just outside C124.

Additional information about Venus transits may be found at