The staff of Astronomy (red shirts) set up five telescopes in the Kalmbach Publishing Co. parking lot to provide employees, families, and friends with views of the transit of Venus. // all photos by Holley Y. Bakich
In Waukesha, Wisconsin, home of Kalmbach Publishing Company (KPC), publishers of Astronomy
magazine, Tuesday, June 5, began as a clear day and remained essentially cloudless through sunset. That’s unusual enough, but it’s not nearly as rare as the transit of Venus, which began at 5:04 P.M. CDT.
A Venus transit occurs when the planet appears to cross the solar disk from our point of view. Humans won’t see another of these events for 105 years. That being the case, the staff of Astronomy thought this was the time to conduct a solar observing session for the KPC staff, their families, and even some friends. So, we set up five telescopes in the parking lot, affixed our solar filters, and had several hours of fun gawking at a black circle moving across the disk of our daytime star.
Astronomy Publisher Kevin Keefe peers through the eyepiece at the transit as Associate Editor Bill Andrews explains to employees why the event is such a rare occurrence.
Each scope afforded us a different view. Through one, sunspots stood out in stark detail. Through another, high magnification showed Venus as much more than just a speck. And yet another — equipped with a Hydrogen-alpha filter — gave everyone high-resolution looks at prominences and solar flares. It was a sight to see people hop from scope to scope and then repeat; some were even experiencing their first look at the Sun through a telescope.
Thanks to Liz Kruesi for organizing the event; to Liz, Rich Talcott, Bill Andrews, and my wife, Holley, for operating telescopes; to Karri Ferron for providing information and support (including step stools) to the many visitors we had; to Tom Ford for acting as the official KPC photographer; and to Jim Klappenbach and the rest of KPC’s Office Services department for all the help they provided. Let’s do it again in 2117!
A few Cub Scouts take in a Hydrogen-alpha view of the transit through a DayStar filter.