astronomy Newsletter


June 3 2012 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody!

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Transit of Venus - Captain Cook 1769
How big is the Solar System? 18th century astronomers tried to find out by sending expeditions around the world to measure a transit of Venus. One of these was Captain Cook's voyage to Tahiti. He went under the auspices of the Royal Society, but he carried secret orders from the government.

*More about Transit of Venus*

June 5/6 2012 is our last chance to see this very rare astronomical event. Here is some more background information.

Transit of Venus – Measuring the Solar System
On June 8, 2004 millions of people witnessed an event that no one still alive had ever seen: a transit of Venus. Another one will occur in June 2012 and then not again for over a hundred years. What is a transit of Venus? How did it help to work out the size of the Solar System?

Kew Observatory
An observatory that a king built to watch the 1769 transit of Venus. The place where official time for London used to be set. Where a murderer was sometimes in attendance when the King walked in the gardens. Find out about the history of Kew Observatory.

Remember: For safe observing of the transit, don't look at the Sun without correct solar filters on your eyes or telescope. Here are some more hints on solar observing.

Absolute Beginners – Observing the Sun
Study the Sun, but treat it with respect! Protect your eyes and use equipment with care, and you can count sunspots and see solar eclipses and transits. Or from the the comfort of your living room your computer will let you see space telescope images of solar flares, prominences and maybe a comet.

If you're not in the path of the transit or the skies are clouded over, SLOOH will be streaming it live. Here's a link to their events page which includes a countdown:

This Astronomy Forum thread has links to further information, including a transit map and transit calculator. It also continues to be updated.

*Partial lunar eclipse*

Every solar eclipse is associated with a lunar eclipse. Following the recent annular solar eclipse, a partial lunar eclipse takes place on June 4. Will you be able to see it? Have a look here: If you're in an area with a partial view of a partial eclipse, most people probably won't even notice it's occurring.

SLOOH will be covering this live. Here is the link:

To learn more about lunar eclipses:

Lunar Eclipses
Imagine the horror: Something is eating the Moon, leaving its face covered in blood. This was how people once viewed lunar eclipses. Find out what actually causes a lunar eclipse, why the Moon may turn red during an eclipse, and where a lunar eclipse becomes a solar eclipse.

To participate in online discussions, this site has a community forum all about Astronomy located here -

Please visit for even more great content about Astronomy.

I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message. I welcome your feedback!

Do pass this message along to family and friends who might also be interested. Remember it's free and without obligation.

I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans,
Astronomy Editor

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