Grand Teton National Park in partnership with the Jackson Hole Astronomy Club will host a Venus transit viewing event on Tuesday, June 5 from 4 p.m. until sunset. Join professional astronomer and Park Ranger Naturalist Robert Hoyle at the Willow Flats Overlook north of Jackson Lake Junction for this once in a lifetime event.
The June 5 event will be the last Venus transit until 2117. Due to orbital geometry, transits of Venus - when Venus moves between the Earth and the Sun - occur in pairs separated by eight years with the first of the current pair occurring in 2004. Venus transit pairs are separated by either 105.5 years or 121.5 years. If the orbit of Earth and the orbit of Venus were in the same plane, transits would occur every 584 days. However, the orbit of Venus is inclined to the Earth's orbital plane by a little over 3 degrees so the two planets only truly line up over the much longer intervals at which the transits occur.
Venus transits are significant in the history of observational astronomy. During the 1700's, observations of such transits provided the only method of determining the Earth-Sun distance and hence the true scale of the solar system.
Several telescopes equipped with special solar filters will be available to safely watch this event. Views will also have the chance to see some of the numerous sunspot groups currently visible on the Sun's surface. Visitors are cautioned that the Sun can only be observed safely through special filters. Sunglasses and photographic filters do not provide adequate protection and their use can lead to permanent eye damage.
Reservations are not required for this event. For more information, please contact the Colter Bay Visitor Center at 307.739.3594.
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