Maui Health Guide - Venus Transit Viewable from Hawaii June 5 2012
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Maui Health Talk Venus Transit Viewable from Hawaii June 5 2012

Venus Transit Viewable from Hawaii June 5 2012

On June 5, 2012, from noon until dusk, the Transit of Venus across the face of the sun will be visible in Hawaii. Of great interest to all who aspire to be Kilo hoku. Astrologer, astronomer; to observe and study the stars. The Venus transits occur in pairs of two, twelve years apart. The last transit was in 2004, the next won't be until 2117.

During this time the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa will provide facilities for the public to safely view the transit of Venus

Tracking the transit of Venus was the motivation for Capt. Cook's voyage to Tahiti where he was part of observations at Fort Venus. 19 nations took part in tracking the location and time of the transit all over the world. Early scientists used Venus transits to measure the size of the solar system,  if they could collect data from two parts of the world . . . they could triangulate the distance of Earth and Venus to the sun.

No transits of Venus occurred in the 20th century, and the 2004 transit was not visible from O‘ahu. Hawai‘i and Alaska are the only states where this event can be viewed in its entirety. In the contiguous 48 states, the sun will set before the transit is over. In Honolulu, the transit will begin at 12:10 p.m. and end at 6:45 p.m.

The transit in its entirity will only be visible from Alaska and Hawaii. Bishop Museum, usually closed on Tuesdays, will be open to allow access to safe viewing.

Mike Shanahan from the Bishop Museum said, "Although Venus goes between the earth and the sun more than once a year, it’s usually right above the sun or right below the sun.  So only roughly every century or so is Venus in the right position to be seen crossing the sun’s disk."

The event is so rare, the Bishop Museum, which is normally closed on Tuesdays, is hosting an open house just for the Venus transit.

You can view Venus’s transit between 12:09 p.m. to 6:42 p.m. Tuesday. It is not safe to look directly at the sun, but with special viewing glasses, it is possible to see the small planet venus transversing across between the earth and the sun.


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A Venus Transit occurs when we can see Venus passing directly in front of the Sun. This is similar to when the Moon passes in front of the Sun on a solar eclipse. Unlike the Moon, which covers most of the Sun, Venus appears as a small dot crossing the face of the Sun. A transit (sometime called a passage) can only occur with the inner planets--Mercury and Venus--because they are the only two that can lie between the Earth and Sun during their orbits.

We are in the midst of the first Venus Transit of this millennium. The Venus Transit presently upon us comes in a pair, with each transit in the pair spaced eight years apart. There was one transit on June 8, 2004 and one on June 6, 2012.

This is a rare once in a life time event. In one 243-year Venus Transit cycle there are two pair spaced 121.5 ±8 years apart. The last Venus Transit (pair) occurred 129.5 years ago in 1874 and 1882. The next pair will occur 113.5 years from this one, in 2117 and 2125. Although the transits currently occur in pairs, and the orbit makes a flower like pattern around the sun, seeming to move both forward and backwards. 

Harmony of the Spheres

Venus revolves in the opposite direction compared to Earth and to its rotation around the sun. Thus, on Venus, the sun and stars rise in the west and set in the east. A Venus day is longer than its year, It takes Venus 243.0187 Earth days to make one rotation, and 224.701 Earth days to orbit the sun. The Venus day is exactly two-thirds of an Earth-year (243 Earth days).

Because Venus revolves once every 2/3 of an Earth year, Venus revolves exactly twelve times in the eight-year pentagonal period--thus showing the same side of her body to Earth in the eight-year period. This near perfect harmonic resonance between the Venus day, the Venus year, and Earth's year is one of the astrophysical dynamics creating the gentle and harmonious astrological character of Venus, named for Venus is the Roman name for the Greek Aphrodite, goddess of love, grace, beauty and sexual rapture. Venus has also been called the "jewel of the sky"; "Eosphorus as the morning star and Hesperus as the evening star";  In Hawaii Venus is seen as a rising morning star half the year and a setting or evening star half the year. Each of the locations has a unique name, Hoku-ao. Morning star, Venus when seen in the morning. Venus is also called Venus. Hoku-ao, Hoku-loa, Mananalo, Manalo, Wenuka, Ka’awela (Mary Kawena Pukui) and is noted in the tapa cloth pattern of triangles, showing light and dark. Thus the Hawaiian calendar tracked not only the solar day and night, and the lunar 28 days phases, but also the location of Venus in the sky during the year.

From earth, we experience have 5 synodic cycles and 12 Venusian days occurring in 8 Earth years creating a near perfect Venus-Earth synergy. Planetary music!

VENUS TRANSIT 2012 viewing locations on OAHU:

Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa will provide facilities for the public to safely view the transit of Venus—Venus crossing the disk of the sun—at Waikīkī Beach, at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, and at Ko Olina Resort near Lagoon 4. The transit of Venus is a rare event that will not be repeated until 2117.

At each location, IfA will distribute free “solar viewers” to allow people to look at the sun without damaging their eyes. There will also be telescopes equipped with solar filters to give people a better view of this event. Experts advise to never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection.  Sunglasses do not provide enough protection.

The Waikīkī Beach viewing site will be at the Sunset on the Beach location toward the Diamond Head end of Kalakaua Avenue, where there will be screens showing webcasts of the transit as viewed from Mauna Kea and Haleakala. There will also be robotics displays and other science and technology activities for children and adults.

The Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is located on Ford Island. While the museum usually charges an admission fee, viewing the transit of Venus and related activities will be free, and the museum will stay open until dusk. In addition to viewing the transit, those who come to this venue will be able to see a show in the IfA’s StarLab planetarium and a robotics display, and there will be other demonstrations and activities for children and adults.

The Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl harbor is located on an active military base, and a military or Department of Defense identification is required. You may also make a reservation by providing the vehicle year, make, model, and license plate number of your car, and a government-issued ID number for each adult in the vehicle in an email to or by calling the museum at (808) 441-1007.  Tickets may also be purchased to the museum at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center where visitors may take the free shuttle bus to the museum. 

The public is also invited to view the transit at Ko Olina Resort near Lagoon 4. Assisting IfA personnel there will be Greg McCartney and Stars Above Hawaii, as well as amateur astronomers. There will be free activities such as robotics, swimming in the lagoon, and others.

On May 30, IfA will sponsor a free panel discussion about the transit of Venus in the Art Auditorium on the Mānoa campus. IfA astronomer Paul Coleman will speak about the role of Hawai‘i during the 1874 transit of Venus; IfA solar physicist Shadia Habbal will speak about the sun and its connection to Venus and Earth; Peter Mouginis-Mark, director of the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at UH Mānoa, will talk about Venus itself; and IfA’s Roy Gal will speak about the transit on June 5. Free solar viewers will be distributed. For more information about this Frontiers of Astronomy Community Event, go to


VENUS TRANSIT 2012 viewing locations on MAUI: Haleakala National Park will serve as a prime viewing spot as the planet Venus crosses in front of the sun Tuesday.

The rare spectacle - which happens twice in every 243 years - is attracting some astronomers and visitors to Hawaii, the only state from which the six-hour event will be visible from start to finish, according to park officials.

With help from Seabury Hall science students, Haleakala park staff will host visitors wanting to see the phenomenon known as the "transit of Venus" at the park's visitor center and summit building.

The park will have so-called "sunspotter" devices, which project the sun's image onto a piece of paper, allowing as many as 30 people at a time to safely view the event.

The event will take place from about noon to 6:45 p.m., when the planet will appear as a small black dot against the surface of the sun.

"It's cool to see another planet. We don't get to see planets during the daytime," said Jeff Bagshaw, interpretation ranger for the park. "It's little proof of how small we are since Venus is about the size of Earth. It's kind of humbling."


He said one Big Island tour company has sold 200 tickets to take people partly up the 13,796 foot Mauna Kea for viewing the upcoming event. But Bagshaw noted that the 10,023-foot Haleakala would likely offer a better vantage point because the summit portion of the park is typically above the clouds.

Though the last transit was in 2004, the next won't be until 2117.

Bagshaw said, "Even our children, likely, won't see this happen again."


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