Home > Amateur Astronomy, Observatories & Facilities, Transits > “Once in a Lifetime Opportunity” Science Planned on the JCMT During the Transit of Venus

“Once in a Lifetime Opportunity” Science Planned on the JCMT During the Transit of Venus


The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, is one of the few telescopes in the world capable of directly observing the planet Venus as it transits across the face of the Sun, and it plans to take full advantage of this last opportunity for 115 years.

The transit of Venus, occurring on 5th June 2012, is when Venus passes directly between the Sun and the Earth; as it does so, it can be seen as a tiny disk crossing the face of the Sun. This is one of the rarest astronomical events and will not be seen again until 2117.

Very few telescopes will be able to observe this event as they cannot point directly at the Sun without destroying their delicate instruments. The JCMT, the largest dedicated submillimetre telescope in the world, has no such problem and is the only telescope out of the ten on the summit of Mauna Kea with this capability. Its dish is protected by a screen of Gore-Tex fabric the largest single piece in the world – which blocks the damaging solar radiation, while still allowing the submillimetre light to pass through.

Full Story: http://outreach.jach.hawaii.edu/pressroom/2012-venus_transit/index.html

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