Friends of the Zeiss                                    

P.O. Box 1041                                                                   

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

Telephone: 412-561-7876

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                       NEWS RELEASE

For immediate release: 2012 May 29

For more information -- Glenn A. Walsh:

                     E-Mail < >

                           Telephone 412-561-7876

                       JUNE 5 -



Transit of Venus - Frequently Asked Questions

Pittsburgh, May 29 – The stars and planets appear to move above us like clockwork each year. And, from
time-to-time, the sky becomes even more interesting when there is an eclipse or the sighting of a new comet.

However, there is one astronomical event that is so rare that no person living on Earth today had seen it before 2004. In fact,
after this event occurs again on June 5, no one will see it again until the year 2117 !  John Philip Sousa was so intrigued by
this event, when it occurred in 1882, that he composed the “Transit of Venus March.”

Early Tuesday evening, June 5, people in North America will have the chance to witness this very special event—a
Transit of the Planet Venus moving directly in front of the Sun. Safe public viewing of this rare
astronomical event, using a 4.5-inch reflector telescope, will be offered free-of-charge at the upper parking lot of the
Mount Lebanon Public Library, 16 Castle Shannon Boulevard, near Washington Road in Pittsburgh's South Hills.
The observation site is located at the southern end of Mount Lebanon's “Uptown” Washington Road business district, about
three blocks south of the Port Authority's Mount Lebanon “T” Light Rail Transit Station.  Free-of-charge public parking is
available at the Library.

A solar transit of a planet is when the planet can be seen (using safe solar viewing techniques) in the daytime as it moves
in front of, and across, the image of the surface of the Sun. The planets Mercury and Venus are the only planets that can be
seen transiting the Sun from the Earth, as these are the only planets closer to the Sun than Earth. A solar transit of the planet
Mercury occurs from time-to-time, but is fairly rare and difficult to see due to the small size of Mercury.

A solar transit of the planet Venus is extremely rare, as it only happens twice, each spaced eight
years apart during a period of more than a century ! Indeed, only seven such events have occurred since the
1609 invention of the astronomical telescope (1631, 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882, and 2004).

The last solar transit of Venus occurred on 2004 June 8. Friends of the Zeiss, which is a co-sponsor of this 2012 Transit of
Venus observing event, provided the only public observing event of the 2004 Transit of Venus in the City of Pittsburgh,
along with the The Duquesne Incline.

The last solar transit of Venus, prior to 2004, occurred on 1882 Dec. 6. The next one, following the 2012 event, will not
occur until 2117 Dec. 11 !

On June 5, the complete transit of Venus, from one side of the Sun to the other, will take nearly seven hours. Unfortunately,
viewing of the entire transit is only possible in Alaska, far northern Canada, half of Asia, and half of Australia. Except for
Antarctica, Portugal, half of Spain, most of South America, and a third of Africa, a portion of the transit event is visible in all other areas of our

In Western Pennsylvania, the first few hours of the transit event will be visible from 6:04:01 p.m. EDT until
local sunset (sunset for Pittsburgh on June 5 is 8:47 p.m. EDT). Although, due to Pennsylvania's hills and valleys,
visibility of the event will probably be lost some time between 8:15 and 8:30 p.m. EDT.

At the Mount Lebanon Public Library, although the best viewing will probably occur between 6:30
and 8:00 p.m. EDT, the safe telescopic viewing will be available for the entire time the event is
visible, from 6:04:01 until around 8:30 p.m. EDT. After we lose sight of the transit event by telescope, a
web-cast of the transit event will be visible using a Library computer, until the Library closes at 9:00 p.m. EDT.

This free-of-charge telescope observing session, co-sponsored by Friends of the Zeiss and the Mount Lebanon
Public Library, will take place so long as clouds do not completely obscure the Sun ! Should inclement
weather prevent visibility by telescope, the Library will show a web-cast of the event, until the Library closes
at 9:00 p.m. EDT.

On June 5, the 4.5-inch reflecting telescope, mounted in the upper parking lot of the Mount Lebanon Public Library, will
project the image of the Solar Transit of Venus onto a portable movie screen, for safe viewing. Observing the Sun
with a telescope, binoculars, or any other type of optical device should only be attempted by
people who have received the proper training and possess the proper equipment to do so safely.
Observing the Solar Transit of Venus, at the Mount Lebanon Public Library, will be supervised by former Buhl Planetarium
Astronomical Observatory Coordinator and Planetarium Lecturer Glenn A. Walsh.

NEVER look directly at the Sun, a solar eclipse, or a solar transit of a planet with a telescope,
binoculars, or any other optical device unless you have the special training and special equipment to do
so safely. Otherwise, this would cause PERMANENT BLINDNESS INSTANTLY !

NEVER look directly at the Sun or a solar eclipse with your unaided eye. This could cause MAJOR
EYE DAMAGE and POSSIBLE BLINDNESS !  Eye damage can occur rapidly, without any pain,
since there are no nerves in the eyes.

For further questions about safely viewing the Solar Transit of Venus, send an electronic mail message to:
< > or telephone 412-561-7876.

Friends of the Zeiss is a ten-year-old non-profit organization with the mission to promote the history and preservation of the
historic equipment, artifacts, and building of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science,
including the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector (prior to 2002 dismantling, oldest operable major planetarium projector in the
world !) and the 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope. More information:
< > or 412-561-7876.

                                        - 30 -

Transit of Venus - Frequently Asked Questions

Transit of Venus 2012 Web Site

Return to History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

Transit of Venus - News Release: 2012 May 29

PittsburghFree.Net Authored By Glenn A. Walsh *** Sponsored By Friends of the Zeiss
Electronic Mail: < > *** Internet Web Site Cover Page: < >
This Internet Web Page: < >
News: Astronomy, Space, Science: SpaceWatchtower Blog
2012 May

NEWS: Planetarium, Astronomy, Space, and Other Sciences

See an Unexplained Object in the Sky ?
Have a Question About Astronomy or Other Sciences?
Ask an Expert from Friends of the Zeiss !

Internet Web Site Master Index for the History of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

Other Internet Web Sites of Interest

History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

History of Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago

Astronomer, Educator, and Telescope Maker John A. Brashear

History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries

Mount Lebanon Public Library, South Hills, Pittsburgh

Historic Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh

Disclaimer Statement: This Internet Web Site is not affiliated with the Andrew Carnegie Free Library,
Ninth Pennsylvania Reserves Civil War Reenactment Group, Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory,
The Carnegie Science Center, The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Institute, or The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

This Internet, World Wide Web Site administered by Glenn A. Walsh.
Unless otherwise indicated, all pages in this web site are --
© Copyright 2012, Glenn A. Walsh, All Rights Reserved.
Contact Web Site Administrator: < >.

This Internet World Wide Web page created on 2012 May 29.