Museum hosts Webcast
of Venus crossing sun

Islanders can see a live Webcast of the transit of Venus, when the planet crosses the sun's disk, from 7 to 11 p.m. June 7 in Bishop Museum's Atherton Halau.

Featured are special planetarium shows and a possible call-in interview with museum lecturer Sam Rhoads, who will be witnessing the transit in the Isle of Rhodes in Greece.

The transit occurs June 8 in Universal Time, but in Hawaii it's on June 7, the museum said.

The planet will take more than six hours to cross the sun, but it won't be visible from Hawaii because it occurs after sunset in the Pacific. The live Webcast will show the event as it's seen in Europe.

A transit of Venus is called a "twice-in-a-lifetime" experience because transits usually occur eight years apart in pairs, then not again for more than 100 years, the museum said.

The last transit pair was in 1874 and 1882. The next transit pair is this year and 2012, when Hawaii is expected to have a brilliant view, the museum said. The one after that will be in 2117 and 2125.

Transits of Venus were significant in Polynesian history, the museum said, pointing out that Capt. James Cook was sent to the Pacific on his first voyage to observe the transit in 1769 from Tahiti. The location where Cook saw the transit is known as "Point Venus." The next transit in 1882 was visible from the Hawaiian Islands.

Author Michael Chauvin wrote about a British expedition that observed the 1882 transit from Hawaii, called "Hokuloa," in a book published recently by the Bishop Museum Press. Hokuloa, meaning "long star," is the word for Venus in Hawaiian, according to the museum.

The admission fees for the Webcast are $4 for adults, $3 for children and free for Bishop Museum Association members. Reservations are necessary because of limited seating.

For more information, call 848-4168.


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