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Transit of Venus viewing parties to be held in Las Vegas

Transit of Venus viewing parties to be held in Las Vegas

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED Jun 4, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It is a chance of a lifetime.

The last chance to view the Transit of Venus will take place June 5. Venus will be passing between Earth and the sun and it won't happen again until 2117.

The Transit of Venus only happens twice every century or so.

The reason it is so rare is because Venus' orbit is not on the same plane as the Earth's. So, when Venus passes between the sun and the Earth every 1.6 years, Venus is usually a little bit above or a little bit below the sun and not visible because of the sun's glare.

Venus will appear to cover just 1/32 of the sun during its transit. It will appear as a black dot on the bottom third of the sun.

So, without magnification, it might be a little difficult to see. The best way to see it is to go to a local museum or planetarium that has a special sun-viewing telescope.

The College of Southern Nevada Planetarium will set up telescopes at the Student Observatory  for public viewing beginning at 3 p.m. The Astronomy Store will sell safe solar glasses, that dim the intensity of the sun by 10,000 times, for $2.50.

Anyone looking directly at the sun should always wear the appropriate protective eyewear -- either Eclipse shades or #14 shade welding glass. The intensity of the sun's light can cause serious retina damage.

Another viewing party will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson Education Campus, 9700 Hillpointe Road.

Participants will be given special equipment to watch the transit safely and Samantha Koehler, a middle school science teacher at the campus, will speak about the very rare occurrence.

If you have your own telescope with a sun filter, you can set it up to project an image of the sun on a sheet of paper.

Dr. Lonnie Hammagren, an avid eclipse chaser, will be hosting a viewing party on the third-floor observation deck of his unique home at 4318 Ridgecrest Drive in Las Vegas. The viewing party will begin at about 3 p.m. Glasses will be provided. Science students from area schools will be attending and the National Geographic Channel will be on hand to video the event.

The Vegas Hikers Meetup Group is also getting together to watch the transit. They will be meeting at the Blue Diamond Wash Trailhead, 8670 W. Wigwam Avenue. Detailed information can be found here.

If you don't have a telescope, you can also try the reflected mirror pinhole method.

For those who can't arrange an in-person viewing, the transit will be streamed online from multiple observatories and telescopes across the globe.

Click here for more information about the transit.

If you are able to take a photo of the transit, please send them to Action News at We would like to include them in a slideshow and maybe show a couple of them on air.

If you would like to submit information about a viewing party open to the public, please send an email to

Joyce Lupiani

Joyce Lupiani

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Joyce Lupiani is the managing editor for and contributes to and