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Media Advisory

U of M to host public viewings for Transit of Venus

Minnesota Institute of Astrophysics and Bell Museum to welcome public for this last-of-our-lifetime orbital phenomenon

Media Note: For interviews with Terry Jones, U of M professor of astronomy, please contact Rhonda Zurn at (612) 626-7959 or rzurn@umn.edu. For interviews with Sarah Komperud, Bell Museum interim planetarium educator, at the Eisenhower Observatory contact Martin Moen at (612) 747-0295.

What: Transit of Venus public viewings
When: Tuesday, June 5 (Informational talk from 4-5 p.m. at Tate Laboratory; observation from 5-9 p.m. at Tate Laboratory and 5-10 p.m. at Eisenhower Observatory)
Where: Tate Laboratory of Physics, 116 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis and Eisenhower Observatory, 1001 Highway 7, Hopkins

Contacts: Matt Hodson, University News Service, mjhodson@umn.edu, (612) 625-0552
Rhonda Zurn, College of Science and Engineering, rzurn@umn.edu, (612) 626-7959
Martin Moen, Bell Museum, mmoen@umn.edu, (612) 747-0295

June 4, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (06/04/2012) – When Venus passes exactly between the Earth and sun starting at 5:04 p.m. Tuesday, June 5, it will embark on a transit not to be seen again for 105 years – until December 2117.

The University of Minnesota is marking this rare astronomical event by hosting a pair of public viewings.

The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering will welcome guests to the Tate Laboratory of Physics, 116 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis. Terry Jones, a professor in the university’s School of Physics and Astronomy, will give an informational talk from 4 to 5 p.m. in Room 166. From 5 to 9 p.m., the Institute will offer safe telescope viewing of the sun from the Tate Laboratory rooftop.

For more information on the Tate Laboratory event, visit the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics.

Those who cannot make it to campus are still in luck, as the Bell Museum of Natural History is teaming with Hopkins Public Schools for an event at the Eisenhower Observatory, located in Room 347 of the Eisenhower Community Center, 1001 Highway 7, Hopkins. From 5 to 10 p.m., visitors will be treated to telescope observing, journeys through the Bell Museum’s ExploraDome and other hands-on activities.

For more information on the Eisenhower Observatory viewing, visit the Bell Museum’s calendar of events.

In Minnesota, the transit will be visible as a small dot crossing the sun as it is setting. Both events will occur regardless of weather, as the locations will offer a live video stream from Hawaii.

The University of Minnesota would like to issue an important reminder that one should never look at the sun without proper protection.

The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics replaces the University of Minnesota’s former Department of Astronomy and is part of the university’s College of Science and Engineering. The new institute brings together 24 faculty members of the School of Physics and Astronomy conducting research in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, planetary science, and space science under a unified association of scientists. For details, visit astro.umn.edu.

The Bell Museum is part of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and strives to discover, document and understand nature and promote informed stewardship of our world. For details, visit bellmuseum.org.

Tags: College of Science and Engineering, Bell Museum of Natural History

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