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University students set up station to see Venus traverse the Sun



A group of University physics students gathered near the EMU Tuesday afternoon to set up a viewing station for people to see Venus traverse the Sun. The natural phenomenon where Venus, Earth and the Sun align in a straight line for several hours happens approximately every 117 years.

Ben Wright,@@https://www.facebook.com/[email protected]@ one of the students who helped to set up the station, knew about the event for quite some time and was excited to help show this once-in-a-lifetime event to the campus community.

Wright estimated that between 40 and 50 students and community members passed through the viewing station to look through several telescopes and viewing devices on display.

“We’ve known about it for a while and made plans to try and show the public, since we have cool gadgets,” Wright said. “We set up before the sun came out and are hoping to get some more good glimpses.”

At times, cloud cover was an issue for viewing Venus, but when the sun broke through, students and community members had the opportunity to take a first-hand look at Venus in the telescopes. Wright, a 2011 University graduate who is about to begin his master’s degree, helped describe the different telescopes that were used.

“We have an 8-inch telescope actually made for viewing stars, but we have a neutral density filter that cuts down the brightness of the sun,” Wright said. “We also have a 1.8-inch focal meter lens that just makes an image on a piece of cardboard. They’re all just astronomers’ telescopes we’re using to look at the sun.”

People who waited in line to view the planet were able to ask questions to the group of physics students about not only the event but also physics and telescopes in general. The traversing of Venus also allowed those who missed the solar eclipse earlier this year to view another orbital event.


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