On 6 June 2012, the planet Venus will travel across the Sun, as viewed from Earth. To celebrate the transit of Venus 2012, Universe Awareness (UNAWE) is developing an educational project in Timor-Leste (commonly known as East Timor) in Asia, which is one of the few countries where the transit will be visible in its entirety.
Transits of Venus are among the rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena and this alignment will not present itself again until the year 2117. While they are not as spectacular to observe as solar eclipses, they were historically important for determining the distance to Venus, and hence the size of the Solar System.
During this year’s transit, UNAWE will organise several educational activities in Timor-Leste, including teacher training workshops and a public observing event. UNAWE is also creating new educational materials for local schools and universities, and plans to distribute Galileoscopes, solar scopes and planispheres. UNAWE is seeking donations to cover the costs of these items. If you would like to financially support this project, please visit this web page to make your donation. Secondhand equipment, such as binoculars, science books and telescopes, will also be gratefully received.
Finally, UNAWE invites educators, parents and astronomers from around the world to use the transit as an opportunity to inspire children about astronomy. As with all of the UNAWE educational materials, the activities developed to celebrate the transit of Venus will be freely available here.
For more information about the UNAWE transit of Venus project in Timor-Leste, please click here.