Guam News - Guam News
Not only can you see The Magic Half Hour during the first three weeks of May, we have a partial solar eclipse on Monday, 21 May AND the once-in-a-lifetime experience of the transit of Venus on 6 June.For all the latest on Guam's Tropical Skies go to the Planetarium's website at: www.guam.net/planet
It’s an amazing couple of months! (Please note that you’ll probably get a few more e-mails from the Planetarium over the next few weeks than you
1. May public shows
2. The Magic Half Hour
3. The Commuter Eclipse (21 May)
4. The transit of Venus (06 June)
5. A call for help.
1. May public shows 10, 11 and 12 May 2012
You’ll notice that there’s no show named above and there’s a reason. I hope to produce a new show for May that features both the solar eclipse
and the transit of Venus and how to view them both safely. However, May is traditionally my busiest time of year and I may not get it done. If I
don’t, we’ll see “The Magic Half Hour” at 6:30 p.m.
Regardless of which show we see, we’ll have the traditional Q&A session at 7:00 p.m. and then we’ll go outside to see The Magic Half Hour when it
gets dark enough to see it. And even if I don’t get the eclipse/transit show done, I’ll provide all the information you need to see them both in
the Planetarium newsletter. So you’ll definitely want to mark this month’s Planetarium shows on your calendar.
2. The Magic Half Hour
That astounding time when you can see eight of the ten brightest stars, 15 of the 20 brightest stars, the largest and smallest constellations and the
three most famous constellations ALL AT THE SAME TIME is in prime viewing time in May. It occurs from 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. from 1-7 May; 7:30 to 8:00 p.m. from 8-14 May; and 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. from 15-22 May.
We also have three planets up there too. Saturn is in the eastern sky near Spica, the fifteenth brightest star, Mars is almost straight overhead all month and Venus is impossible to miss in the western sky. Enjoy!
3. The Commuter Eclipse
We’re having a partial solar eclipse over Guam on Monday 21 May. I’m calling it the Commuter Eclipse because it occurs between 7:00 a.m. and
9:14 a.m. with maximum eclipse at 8:07 a.m. Only about one quarter of the Sun will be covered by the Moon so you’ll need some kind of viewing device to see it. A safe, simple way is to walk outside and look under a tree.
The round circles you see are actually images of the Sun shining through the leaves and during the Commuter Eclipse, they’ll have a ‘bite’ out of
them! I hope to get some stuff up on the website that will show you other safe ways to view this eclipse. (www.guam.net/planet)
4. The transit of Venus
Venus will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun on Wednesday 6 June 2012. Guam is almost directly under the path of the transit and we’ll see
the whole thing. It will last about six and a half hours.
Venus will appear as a small slowly moving dot on the face of the Sun and you’ll definitely want to see it because there won’t be another one for
105 years in 2117 and you will probably miss it!
The transit starts at 8:13 a.m. here on Guam. That’s when the leading edge of Venus makes visual contact with the edge of the Sun. This will
occur on the lower left side of the Sun at about the 8:00 position. At 8:31 a.m. Venus’ trailing edge contacts the Sun. After that, Venus will
slowly make its way across the Sun’s face. The edge of Venus will contact the Sun’s edge again at 2:28 p.m. and will leave the Sun’s disc entirely
at 2:45 p.m.
There are several ways to view a transit and that brings us to our last topic.
5. A call for help
The people who subscribe to this list are the Planetarium’s best friends and I need some help for this transit. I’m thinking of setting up some
viewing stations here at the University, probably in the vicinity of the Science Building. Do any of you have any suggestions about other more
appropriate places? Perhaps you might like to set up your own viewing stations somewhere else. If you’re interested in volunteering to help on
that date or have your own viewing site, please let me know.
And that brings up the second call for help. A friend and I are going to try to construct some reflection viewers using either dead refractor
telescopes or fuzzy binoculars that have grown mold on the lenses. They need to be ‘dead’ because the Sun’s heat is very hard on the glue used to
mount the optics. If you have old binoculars or telescopes you’d like to donate to the cause, please let me know.
I’m also looking to borrow #14 welder’s goggles for viewing the transit. These are about the only safe method to actually view the transit by
looking directly at the Sun and not a projected image and I’d like to have some on hand. They will be returned to you unscathed!
All comments, suggestions and offers of help are greatly appreciated. And thank you for reading this incredibly LONG missive all the way through!!
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