Venus Viewing
Venus Viewing Three ways to see the transit—HMNS, HMNS at Sugar Land, and George Observatory


Venus Viewing

Three ways to see the transit-HMNS, HMNS at Sugar Land, and George Observatory

HOUSTON-The Houston Museum of Natural Science invites the public to observe a rare and special event on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 5. On that date, the planet Venus will transit the Sun, appearing as a black dot against the Sun's disk. From 4 - 6 p.m. that afternoon, the Museum will provide telescopes with filters to safely observe the Sun near the sundial on the Museum's front patio, as well as at the George Observatory and at HMNS at Sugar Land.

"On June 5, Venus lines up almost exactly with the Earth and the Sun," explains Dr. Carolyn Sumners, vice president of astronomy and physics for the Houston Museum of Natural Science. "This causes Venus to appear as a black dot silhouetted on the Sun's disk-an event called a ‘transit.' Only Mercury and Venus can transit the Sun because they are the only planets that pass between the Earth and Sun."

Transits of Venus occur in pairs eight years apart, and then not again for over a century. Because of the way Venus's orbit is aligned, transits occur only in June or December. This is the second of this pair of transits (the other, not visible in Houston, occurred in June 2004). The next transit visible to Houstonians will occur on the morning of December 8, 2125.

Activity Time

Event Begins 4 p.m.

Venus's disk first touches the Sun's 5:09 p.m.

Venus is completely inside Sun's disk 5:27 p.m.

Event Ends 6 p.m.

Sunset 8:19 pm

Special Activities

To view the transit, HMNS will provide solar telescopes and solar projection devices at the Hermann Park location, at HMNS at Sugar Land, and at the George Observatory. We will also have special solar glasses, the same kind used to watch eclipses, for purchase at all three locations.

At the Hermann Park location, festivities also include a DJ and food trucks, along with crafts and activities for the kids. The event will go on from 4 - 6 p.m., with the beginning of the transit occurring at 5:09 p.m.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science-one of the nation's most-heavily attended museums-is a centerpiece of the Houston Museum District. With four floors of permanent exhibit halls, including the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Burke Baker Planetarium and George Observatory and as host to world-class and ever-changing touring exhibitions, the Houston Museum has something to delight every age group. With such diverse and extraordinary offerings, a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, located at 5555 Hermann Park Drive in the heart of the Museum District, is always an adventure.

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