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Look out for ‘transit of Venus’ tomorrow

Astronomer: It won’t happen again until 2117
Monday, June 4, 2012
Dr Shirin Haque, senior physics lecturer at UWI, St Augustine.

The anxiously awaited “transit of Venus” happens tomorrow. This is according to Dr Shirin Haque, UWI physicist and astronomer. Haque, who is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, said the much-anticipated astronomical event will not happen again for another 105 years.


“While the last transit of Venus occurred in 2004, we will have to wait until 2117 for the next one,” Haque said. During the transit, Venus will appear to move across the Sun. It will appear like a black dot crossing the Sun. Mercury and Venus lie inside Earth's orbit, making them the only planets that can pass between the Earth and Sun to produce such a transit.


The outlook for the Caribbean is interesting for viewers, Haque said. In Trinidad, the transit will begin just around sunset, making it difficult to observe with a window of just a few minutes from first contact. “As we go westward across the islands, the situation is better,” she said.


Haque said the astronomical community in the Caribbean region, headed by Caribbean Institute of Astronomy and the Cayman Astronomical Society, in conjunction with the UWI, the societies in Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica have made arrangements for a live broadcast of the event from the Grand Cayman throughout the region.


The broadcast will be visible on Night Skies Network on the CARINA channel. Anyone can log in to view, but you will need an account on the sit to post comments. Comments can also be posted on Carina’s facebook page as well


Haque reminded viewers of the transit to not look directly at the sun with the naked eyes and also warned that sunglasses do not offer adequate protection against retinal burns.