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A little black dot: the transits of Venus


Manager of the Launceston Planetarium Martin George will deliver an intergalactic free public lecture at UTAS this May, titled: A little black dot: the transits of Venus.

Only the planets Mercury and Venus can pass between the Earth and the Sun. These events are called transits, during which we see these planets appearing as circular black dots appearing to slowly move across the Sun's face.

Although transits of Mercury happen about 13 times each century, transits of Venus are rare. They occur in pairs separated by eight years, following which the next pair occurs more than a century later.

On the sixth of June this year, Venus transits the Sun for the last time until the year 2117!

In the past, the transits were very important, as they were used to calculate the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

Today, we have no need of this method. However, the rarity of these events and the colourful history of their observation capture public attention. Both great successes and bad luck were experienced by intrepid astronomers and explorers of the 18th  and 19th centuries.

In this talk, Martin George will excite everyone with the fascination of the transits of Venus, and discuss what we shall see this year - weather permitting!

Martin George is a Fellow and former President (President, 2005-2006) of the International Planetarium Society - the world body of planetarium professionals. He is also Manager of the Launceston Planetarium, which forms part of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston, Tasmania.

Martin was born in the UK and educated in Tasmania, gaining an honours degree in Physics (astronomy) at the University of Tasmania. He makes frequent appearances on radio and television to discuss astronomy and space research.

Martin has kept close links with the University of Tasmania, and has on many occasions presented undergraduate courses in astronomy at the UniversityĆ¢€™s Launceston Campus.

He frequently speaks to  community groups and the public on astronomical topics.

Time: 8pm, Wednesday 30 May 2012
Venue: Physics lecture theatre 1, UTAS Sandy Bay campus, Churchill Avenue Hobart

This is a free public lecture and all are welcome.

Image credit: NASA/LMSAL.

Published on: 11 Apr 2012 8:30am