Monday, June 11, 2012

Cheers & Jeers: Astronomy fans get a real treat

CHEERS to University of Illinois Springfield professor of astronomy John Martin and the many members of the Sangamon Astronomical Society who gave hundreds of people the chance to view Venus’ transit of the sun last Tuesday.

With numerous telescopes set up on the patio of Erin’s Pavilion at Southwind Park, Martin and the SAS members provided many views of this rare and fascinating event. Those who showed up got to see the now-famous image of Venus occluding the sun in a variety of formats: projected on a screen, projected on cloth through a telescope’s eyepiece, against a vivid red sun through a special light filter and through the eyepieces of assorted telescopes.

Martin and the assembled astronomy enthusiasts also provided explanations of what was happening and answered any astronomy-related questions from visitors with enthusiasm. Barring major developments in health care, this was a once-in-a-lifetime event. You’ll have to live until 2117 to see it again.

The event was featured in a June 11, 2012, article in the State Journal-Register.

Read the article online