Transit of Venus

Date(s) - 06/05/12
4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Hosted by
Adler Planetarium

Transit of Venus

Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Time: 4:00-9:00 p.m.
Location: The Adler Planetarium
Cost: General admission is FREE for Illinois residents (see Discount Days schedule); standard fees apply for non-Illinois residents and for shows.

The Adler Planetarium will be celebrating the last Transit of Venus of the 21st century!

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Adler Planetarium Celebrates the 2012 Transit of Venus

The Adler Planetarium will be celebrating the last Transit of Venus of the 21st century! Observe the Sun safely here with us, and participate in much, much more!

On June 5, as part of Adler’s Discount Days promotion, general admission to the museum for Illinois residents (with proof of residency) will be free, with special Transit event museum hours until 9:00 pm.  Tickets to planetarium shows, tours, etc. will be available for additional fees.

If you miss this transit, the next Transit of Venus is not until 2117 – and that one will not be visible at all from Chicago.  Chances are high that no one alive today who sees the 2012 Transit will see the next one!

“Transit of Venus” Special Exhibit


IMG: James Ferguson, Transit of VenusJames Furguson, Astronomy explained upon Sir Isaac Newton’s Principle, London, c. 1764-1773; Edinburgh, c. 1811-1841 (edited by Brewster) Dates: May 24 – June 15, 2012
Location: Lower Level, Near the Definiti Space Theater and in the Universe in Your Handsgallery. Periodically during the evening, a History of Astronomy curator will be on hand to answer your questions about the artifacts.  Specific times to be announced.

An exhibit showcasing the Adler’s best Transit of Venus-related books, instruments, and works on paper dating from the 1660s to the 1880s will be on display.  Several items have not been displayed previously. Don’t miss the hand-painted “magic lantern” slides from the 1800s! These optical and mechanical marvels were projected (using intense “limelight”) onto screens to amaze popular audiences. We are exhibiting two mechanical Transit of Venus lantern slides which–when someone turned a crank on the slide–actually moved a dot representing Venus across the projected face of the Sun. There will also be a rare French map from 1769, on loan from an Adler trustee, illustrating the parts of the Earth from which that year’s Transit would be viewable. You can find similar maps of this year’s Transit on the Web, but this one was made 243 years ago!

Telescope Observing of the Transit

An Adler volunteer gives visitors the opportunity to view the city skyline through the telescope.Time: 4:00 – 7:30 p.m.* (approximately)

Don’t miss your last chance to see the Transit of Venus! Adler staff and volunteers will be available outside on the north and west sides of the Adler to facilitate safe viewing of the Transit using specially-outfitted telescopes. Weather permitting, observing will begin prior to the transit at 4:00 p.m. CDT.  The transit begins at 5:04 p.m. CDT. Observing of the transit will end (again, weather-permitting) when the Sun sinks behind the city of Chicago skyline at approximately 7:30 p.m.

*Note: Observing of early-evening sky objects will occur, weather permitting, after the transit until 9:00 p.m., pending visibility. The Adler’s Doane Observatory will not be used for observing on June 5.

Live NASA Broadcast of the Transit

Time: 5:00 – 8:45 p.m.
Location: Universe Theater (Note: The opportunity for entry to the Universe Theater will be included in general admission.  Entry to the theater will be on a first-come, first-served basis until theater capacity is reached. Entry will only occur when seats are available, at the discretion of Adler staff. Visitors may leave the theater at any time.)

NASA will broadcast a live internet feed from telescopes atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii throughout the transit.  Watch this NASA Edge production in the Adler’s Universe Theater starting at 5 pm!  Adler staff will also be available to answer questions about the Transit, Venus, and the search for planets around other stars.

Space Visualization Laboratory

An Adler astronomer shares some of his research with visitors during the Space Visualization Labs open hours.Time: 4:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Lower Level, near the entrance to the “Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass” exhibit

Astronomers will be available for questions on the Transit of Venus and transits, in general, at the Adler’s Space Visualization Laboratory (SVL). The Lab will showcase movies and interactive visualizations to better explain the ways we observe them.


An Adler staff member explores the electromagnetic spectrum with visitors.Time: Periodically starting at 4:00 p.m.

Adler Mission Specialists will be walking around during the Transit facilitating several activities:

  • Activity #1: What does parallax have to do with transits?
  • Activity #2: Finding planets using transits
  • Activity #3: Let’s compare Earth and Venus!

These fun sessions will happen periodically inside and outside the Adler in various locations.  If you see one of our Mission Specialists, please join in!

Planetarium Shows

IMAGE: Grainger Welcome GalleryTime: All day and evening

Normal show schedules will be available all day and evening with transit themes in Night Sky Live, Undiscovered Worlds, and The Searcher.  Come early to reserve your seats!  Consider the Discount Deep Space Adventure Pass to enjoy two shows and the Atwood experience at a discounted rate.

Hunt for Planets with the Citizen Science Team

Time: During the evening

Members of staff from the Adler’s Department of Citizen Science will be explaining how members of the public have found new exoplanets using the Zooniverse citizen science project Planet Hunters. There will also be an opportunity to try exoplanet hunting yourself with members of the team!

Learn more about Planet Hunters on the Zooniverse website.

Café Service

Time: 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.

A limited menu of sandwiches and snacks and drinks will be available for purchase in the Adler Planetarium Classrooms from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

(Please note: Cafe Galileo’s will be closed during the evening of June 5 for a private event.)

Adler Store

The Adler Store will be open until 9:00 p.m. on June 5.  If you have not obtained your special solar viewing glasses for safely looking at the Transit, don’t wait!  Quantities are limited, and you can contact the Adler Store now to purchase yours.

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