!!!Special Event!!!

Venus Transit of the Sun


The Venus Transit Event is ON!

Note: There are clouds overhead, but it will not hamper the viewing much at all. There will be plenty of viewing opportunities between the clouds, and as the evening progresses the clouds will be dissipating.

The Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association is proud to co-sponsor viewing opportunities to view a once-in-a-litetime event, the transit of the planet Venus across the disc of the Sun. This will not happen again for another 105.5 years. No attempt should be made to view this rare phenomenon without adequate eye protection. Permanent blindness can result from staring at the sun.

We have four sites in the metropolitan area where telescopes with safe viewing devices will be set up for the public. To accommodate the expected large number of visitors, images of the solar disk will be fed to projection devices and computer screens for safe viewing. Each viewing site will operate from 6 to 9 p.m. if the sky is clear enough to see the sun. Visitors can stop by briefly at any time during that interval for a rewarding view of something they will never see again.

While it will take Venus close to six hours to cross the sun’s disk, only the first half of the transit will be visible from West Michigan. Venus’ black disk first touches the edge of the sun shortly after 6 p.m. and will be near the center point of its traverse at sunset here. Only from places much farther west, such as Alaska and most of the Pacific Ocean, will the transit be visible from beginning to end.

The sites below were selected for their accessibility, available parking, and reasonably clear view toward the western horizon.

Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Time: 6.00pm - 9.00pm (weather permitting)


Lowell - Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience and Environmental Education Center: Vergennes Rd. east of Alden Nash Ave. across from Lowell High School.

Grand Rapids - Cascade Township Park: Thornapple River Dr. at I 96, near parking area on east end of park. Take the 36th St. exit from I-96 and go east to Thornapple River Dr., then north just over E-way to Nick Kik Dr. Or 28th St to Thornhills Drive. Right on Thornhills Drive until you get to the park.

Grand Rapids - Grand Rapids Public Museum: 272 Pearl at Front St, atop the parking ramp; entry from south side of ramp with vehicle; east side pedestrians. Elevator available. Event is free but $5 evening parking rate applies for those wishing to park in the ramp.

Grandville - Grandville Middle School: 3535 Wilson, SW, adjacent to Wedgewood Park. Use the event parking lot, west off Wilson and walk south to grassy area.

Lowell - Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience and Environmental Education Center: Vergennes Rd. east of Alden Nash Ave. across from Lowell High School.


Additionally, other astronomy groups in West Michigan will be having viewing events, if you are unable to make it to one of ours.

Calvin College will have viewing at their observatory. Details can be found on their special Venus Transit page.

The Kalamazoo Astronomical Society will be at Warren Dunes State Park, located on the shore of Lake Michigan. Their event begins at 4:00 pm with a Solar Star Party. The transit itself begins at 6:04 pm EDT and ends at sunset (9:16 pm EDT).

The Muskegon Astronomical Society will have safe viewing telescopes set up near the Muskegon filtration plant at Pierre Marquette Park on the lakeshore.

The Steven F. Wessling Observatory, off Stone Road at Baseline Road, eight miles north of Fremont, will also be open to the public during the transit.

Up-to-date updates will be available view the GRAAA Facebook page and Twitter stream.

Please join us in seeing this astronnomical event that won't be seen again in our lifetimes.