View eclipse, Venus at Gilbert observatory - East Valley Tribune: Gilbert

View eclipse, Venus at Gilbert observatory

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Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 4:18 pm | Updated: 9:39 pm, Mon May 21, 2012.

The East Valley Astronomy Club at the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory located at Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is set to mark two events in the sky through specialized solar-equipped telescopes.

Beginning at 5:15 p.m. Sunday, you’ll be able to view the annual solar eclipse. The event lasts for two hours, with the major portion of the eclipse visible about 6:30 p.m. Sunset is about 7:30 p.m., which is before the event has fully cleared.

The high-powered telescope at the facility cannot see below about 16 degrees, so a series of smaller solar telescopes will be used, and positioned on the west side of and along the walk area that surround the observatory.

Then, beginning at 3 p.m. June 5, Venus can be viewed passing in front of the sun. Venus will only block out about 3 percent of the disk, but with solar filters on the telescopes, it will be able to be viewed in a very rare transit. This condition will not repeat until the year 2117, according to a news release.

Viewing will take place with the powerful observatory telescope during the first three hours, as well as with individual telescopes for the length of the event.

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