2004 Transit of Venus - Pittsburgh

Public Observing Session of
Transit of Venus
Across Image of Sun

Pittsburgh - 2004 June 8

2012 June 5 - Safe Public Viewing of Rare Astronomical Event

Image of Venus Transiting Sun, as seen from Pittsburgh 2004 June 8 Transit of Venus image, projected on a white card

Photographs of the Transit of Venus across the solar disk, taken on the Observation Deck of The Duquesne Incline in the Mt. Washington/Duquesne Heights section of Pittsburgh on 2004 June 8. The first photograph (photograph on the left, on some browsers) was taken by Eugene Fink of Carnegie Mellon University. The second photograph (photograph on the right, on some browsers), taken by Francis G. Graham of Kent State University, shows the image of Venus transiting the Sun as projected onto a white card. Most members of the public viewed the transit event from a projected image.

(Click on an image, to see an enlarged view of the photograph.)


Transit of Venus Web Cover Page

2004 Transit of Venus *** 2012 Transit of Venus

PittsburghFree.Net Authored By Glenn A. Walsh
Sponsored By Friends of the Zeiss

This Internet Web Page: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/venustransit/2004.html >
Transit of Venus Web Cover Page: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/venustransit/ >
History of Buhl Planetarium Web Site: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
Friends of the Zeiss Web Site: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail: < venustransit2004@planetarium.cc >
Twitter Page: SpaceWatchtower *** Facebook Page: SpaceWatchtower
Web Page Translated in the Belorussian language.

SpaceWatchtower Blog

Internet Web Site Master Index for the History of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh



Friends of the Zeiss and the The Duquesne Incline teamed-up to provide residents of the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the only public viewing, with telescopes, of the rare Transit of the Planet Venus across the image of the Sun just after sunrise on Tuesday Morning, 2004 June 8.

The public observing session took place between sunrise in Pittsburgh (5:50 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time) and 7:26 a.m. EDST, on the Upper Station Observation Deck of The Duquesne Incline. Four members of Friends of the Zeiss staffed telescopes (including an 8-inch reflector telescope and a 16-centimeter refractor telescope) or binoculars to show the public this historic event, which had not occurred since 1882 December 6:

* Francis G. Graham, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Kent State University, and Founder of the American Lunar Society. He is also Director of the Christina Alley Observatory, a private observatory in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Professor Graham operated his 16-centimeter (objective lens of approximately 6.5 inches aperture) f/15 refractor telescope, which is normally stationed at the Christina Alley Observatory (using projection method of display of image).

* Eric G. Canali, former Floor Manager of the original Buhl Planetarium and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers (SHBA): operated his 20 x 80 (20 power with 80 mm objective lenses) Celestron binoculars (using projection method of display of image).

* John D. Weinhold, former Astronomical Observatory Volunteer of the original Buhl Planetarium: operated his Meade ETX-125 4-inch reflector telescope [direct viewing through telescope using safe high neutral density, solar filter covering the objective lens--an entrance filter (Special Note: exit filters, at eyepiece end of telescope, are NEVER safe for any type of solar observing, including solar eclipses!)].

* Glenn A. Walsh, former Astronomical Observatory Cooordinator and Planetarium Lecturer of the original Buhl Planetarium: operated Professor Graham's Celestron 8 Schmidt-Cassegrain 8-inch reflector telescope (using projection method of display of image).

Following the conclusion of the Transit of Venus across the solar disk, at 7:26 a.m. EDST, Professor Graham used the 16-cm refractor telescope to show the public the Moon, which was in the southern sky.

Photographs of this event, which can be seen on this web site, were provided by Eugene Fink, a Systems Scientist in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and Professor Graham.

There was a good turnout of members of the public (about 50 or so, over the course of the one and one-half hour event) for this event, considering the early hour of the morning when it occurred. Newspaper coverage of the event was quite good, including a cover story in Pittsburgh's new afternoon tabloid newspaper, Pittsburgh Trib p.m.. Here is a bibliography to the news coverage of this event:

Fleming, Adam. "Transit lifts eyes and spirits."
The Pitt News 2004 June 9.

Arbuckle, Gwen. "Look! Up in the sky ..."
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 2004 June 9.

Arbuckle, Gwen. "Pittsburghers watch Venus cross the sun."
Pittsburgh Trib p.m. 2004 June 8.
(Cover story in weekday afternoon, tabloid newspaper, published by the Tribune-Review from 2003 April through 2011 April.)

Walsh, Glenn A. "SAFE PUBLIC VIEWING OF RARE ASTRONOMICAL EVENT WITH
8-INCH REFLECTOR TELESCOPE AT DUQUESNE INCLINE OBSERVATION DECK."
News Release.
Friends of the Zeiss 2004 June 3.

For additional information about this event:

Notices and News Releases Issued *** Correspondence

Possible, first documented observation, by members of the general public, of a Transit of the Planet Venus:
Public Observation: 1761 Venus Transit

Walsh, Glenn A. "Transit of Venus Viewed From Saturn." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2012 Dec. 22.
Friends of the Zeiss sponsored the City of Pittsburgh's only public viewing, with telescopes, of the 2004 Transit of Venus across the image of the Sun.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Transit of Venus Results Could Help Find Exoplanets." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2012 Dec. 15.
Friends of the Zeiss sponsored the City of Pittsburgh's only public viewing, with telescopes, of the 2004 Transit of Venus across the image of the Sun.

The Mount Washington public observation event of the Transit of Venus on 2004 June 8, co-sponsored by Friends of the Zeiss and The Duquesne Incline, was the only such public event in the City of Pittsburgh, and one of only two such events in Allegheny County. Only two other public observation events, of the 2004 Transit of Venus, occurred in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area:

* North Hills High School, West View, Allegheny County - North Hills High School Planetarium Director Sue Batson and Tim Manka, a member of the Amateur Astronomers' Association of Pittsburgh, operated five telescopes (four Astroscan reflector telescopes and one Dobsonian reflector telescope) on the baseball field in front of the school. This public event was attended by about 40 to 50 students, parents, and teachers from the time the sun rose above the school building until the transit concluded. Students in Ms. Batson's Astronomy class helped her build solar viewers using rear-projection screens mounted on funnels attached to the eyepieces of the telescopes, according to plans provided at the 2003 October meeting of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association. She also had a couple pairs of Solar Eclipse Glasses that a few people preferred. Programming prior to the event included showings of a planetarium show regarding the transit event (seen by hundreds of high school students and junior high school students) and a student lesson on measuring changes in light curves of extra-solar planets.

* St. Vincent College, Latrobe, Westmoreland County - A public open house was held on the roof of the Physics Building, coordinated by Assistant Professor John Smetanka.

This Internet web site is being issued by Friends of the Zeiss, in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the dedication and opening of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science in Pittsburgh. The fifth major planetarium in the Americas was dedicated on 1939 October 24 and opened to the public the next day. Buhl Planetarium included a Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, which, until its dismantling in 2002 October, was the oldest operable major planetarium projector in the world !

On the occassion of Buhl Planetarium's 60th anniversary, in 1999, an Internet web site was issued to provide the public with the rich history of this important part of the heritage of informal Astronomy and Science education. When first posted, this web site was sponsored by the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. Friends of the Zeiss assumed sponsorship of this web site, with establishment of this friends organization in 2002.


Other Transit of Venus Internet Web Sites:

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: 2004 Transit of Venus *** 2004 & 2012 Transits of Venus

European Southern Observatory

Transit of Venus .org

Photographs of Transit of Venus as seen in Sydney, Australia
From the Sydney Morning Herald

Article from Sky and Telescope Magazine
(forerunner magazine, The Sky, co-sponsored in early 1940s by
Buhl Planetarium in Pittsburgh and Hayden Planetarium in New York City):

Venus to "Eclipse" Sun for First Time in 122 Years


Other Internet Web Sites of Interest

History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh -
Including the Oldest Operable, Major Planetarium Projector in the World !

History of the Astronomical Observatory of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science
, Pittsburgh

History of The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago -
America's First Major Planetarium !

History of Astronomer, Educator, and Optician John A. Brashear

History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries

The Duquesne Incline, Pittsburgh -
Historic Cable Car Railway Serving Commuters and Tourists since 1877 !


Transit of Venus Web Cover Page

2004 Transit of Venus *** 2012 Transit of Venus

PittsburghFree.Net Authored By Glenn A. Walsh
Sponsored By Friends of the Zeiss

This Internet Web Page: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/venustransit/2004.html >
Transit of Venus Web Cover Page: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/venustransit/ >
History of Buhl Planetarium Web Site: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
Friends of the Zeiss Web Site: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail: < venustransit2004@planetarium.cc >
Twitter Page: SpaceWatchtower *** Facebook Page: SpaceWatchtower
Web Page Translated in the Belorussian language.

SpaceWatchtower Blog

Internet Web Site Master Index for the History of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh



Disclaimer Statement: This Internet Web Site is not affiliated with the
Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory,
The Carnegie Science Center, The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Institute, or The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

This Internet, World Wide Web Site administered by Glenn A. Walsh.
Unless otherwise indicated, all pages in this web site are --
Copyright 2004 to 2011, Glenn A. Walsh, All Rights Reserved.
Contact Web Site Administrator: venustransit@planetarium.cc

This Internet Web Site created 2004 October 24.
Last modified : Sunday, 23-Dec-2012 01:04:00 EST.
You are visitor number , to this web page, since 2012 May 9.
Number of visitors to this page < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/venustransit/2004.html > 2011 May 9 to 2012 May 9: 60.