mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii

UH Astronomy to Provide Safe Venus Transit Viewing Venues

Maintained by LG & RG

For immediate release
May 11, 2012


Donna Bebber
(808) 741-1041


transit of Venus poster by Karen Teramura
Transit of Venus poster by Karen Teramura. Letter-size poster

On June 5, from noon until dusk, the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii at Manoa will provide facilities for the public to safely view the transit of Venus—Venus crossing the disk of the sun—at Waikiki Beach, at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, and at Ko Olina Resort near Lagoon 4.

At each location, IfA will distribute free “solar viewers” that will allow people to look at the sun without damaging their eyes. There will also be telescopes equipped with solar filters to give people a better view of this event.

Never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection. Sunglasses do not provide enough protection.

The transit of Venus is a rare event that will not be repeated until 2117. No transits of Venus occurred in the 20th century, and the 2004 transit was not visible from Oahu. Hawai‘i and Alaska are the only states where this event can be viewed in its entirety. In the contiguous 48 states, the sun will set before the transit is over. In Honolulu, the transit will begin at 12:10 p.m. and end at 6:45 p.m.

The Waikiki Beach viewing site will be at the Sunset on the Beach location toward the Diamond Head end of Kalakaua Avenue, where there will be screens showing webcasts of the transit as viewed from Mauna Kea and Haleakala. There will also be robotics displays and other science and technology activities for children and adults.

The Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is located on Ford Island. While the museum usually charges an admission fee, viewing the transit of Venus and related activities will be free, and the museum will stay open until dusk. In addition to viewing the transit, those who come to this venue will be able to see a show in the IfA’s StarLab planetarium and a robotics display, and there will be other demonstrations and activities for children and adults.

Since the museum is located on an active military base, you must have military or Department of Defense identification, or you must make a reservation by providing the vehicle year, make, model, and license plate number of your car, and a government-issued ID number for each adult in the vehicle in an email to or by calling the museum at (808) 441-1007. A third alternative is to buy a ticket to the museum at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and take the free shuttle bus to the museum.

The public is also invited to view the transit at Ko Olina Resort near Lagoon 4. Assisting IfA personnel there will be Greg McCartney and Stars Above Hawaii as well as amateur astronomers. There will be robotics, swimming in the lagoon, and other activities, all free.

For the latest information about these venues, go to

On May 30, IfA will sponsor a free panel discussion about the transit of Venus in the Art Auditorium on the Manoa campus. IfA astronomer Paul Coleman will speak about the role of Hawaii during the 1874 transit of Venus; IfA solar physicist Shadia Habbal will speak about the sun and its connection to Venus and Earth; Peter Mouginis-Mark, the director of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at UH Manoa, will talk about Venus itself; and IfA’s Roy Gal will speak about the transit on June 5. Free solar viewers will be distributed. For more information about this Frontiers of Astronomy Community Event, go to

Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea.

Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaii is the state's sole public system of higher education. The UH System provides an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs on 10 campuses and through educational, training, and research centers across the state. UH enrolls more than 50,000 students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and around the world.