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Wed June 6, 2012
Celestial Happenings: Your Venus Transit Questions Answered
If you missed the Venus transit Tuesday afternoon, we have bad news: you’re not going to have another chance to see it.
The next one happens in 2117, and unless scientists figure out the secret to time travel, it’s unlikely you’ll catch that one. But you're in luck, because this Wednesday's Central Standard is devoted to discussing your questions about the transit and keeping you posted on other celestial happenings this summer.
Our master observers for this show are Daniel McIntosh, Assistant Professor of General Astronomy and Astrophysics at UMKC as well as director of the Warkoczewski Observatory, and Joseph Wright, member and past president of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City (ASKC).
The Venus Transit teaches a lot of things about earth and space. A coordinated effort in 1769 correlated data to find the distance between the sun and the earth via the transit, and was accurate... within meters. Transits also provide tools to discover planets orbiting other stars. But, in addition to these once- or twice-in-a-lifetime events, the night sky provides a show every clear night.
We'll learn about some sky-watching basics from how to use binoculars in your own backyard to tricks for using stars as navigation. And, there are a couple of observatories open to the public every weekend where you can get an even closer view of the heavens (see below).