Welcome, once again, to the wonders of our Arizona skies!

With 2012, nearly half over, we have some of the best sky

objects and events to come.

June offers up one of rarest of all sky events; an amazing transit

of the planet Venus.

Get set for this nearly once in a lifetime event, on the afternoon

hours of June 5th. Venus transits occur in a period of some 243 years , with a pair occurring some 8 years apart; then separated

by long gaps of 121.5 years!

Sound confusing? Just note that the last Venus Transit occurred

back on June 8th 2004 and the last pair occurred, back on December 1874 and December 1882. If you miss this one on the

afternoon of June 5th; you will have to wait till December 2117 and

December 2125….wow!

Just what is a Venus Transit?

The orbits of Venus and Earth are similar in many ways, the orbit

of Venus is one of the most circular in the solar system and from time to time, it will cross the orbital plane of the Earth and the Sun

at the same time!

During one of these rare events, we get to witness, the disk of Venus in front of the Sun.

Since Venus is smaller than the Sun, it appears to “transit” or move

over the disk of the Sun.

Lucky observers with proper eye protection, (similar to the eclipse

glasses that you use to view a partial/total solar eclipse), can view

the transit.

The transit of Venus can take up to six hours or so to complete its

journey, but observers in Arizona, can witness some 3.5 hours of the event, on average.

Hoping for clear skies, observers in Arizona (Phoenix) can expect

to see Venus move on to the solar disk at 3:06 PM local time, with

the Sun, some 54 degrees above the horizon.

Venus will be best placed on the solar disk at 6:25PM local time, but the Sun will only be some 13 degrees above the horizon. Sunset on June 5th, will occur at 7:35PM local time.

Dr.Sky suggests that you take some time, now, to prepare to view this most amazing Astronomy event; but please, do it SAFELY!

To learn all about what the transit should look like from your location:

www.curtrenz.com/venustransit

To learn about the history of the Transit Of Venus:

www.transitofvenus.org/

The month of June has some other interesting objects/events. The

Full Strawberry Moon occurs on the 4th, with Last Quarter on the 11th. The real dark skies for June occur at best on the 19th, with the

New Moon and then look low in the NW for a thin crescent moon

starting on or about June 20th. First Quarter Moon, occurs on the 26th.

For planets; all the major planets in the west, are gone at sunset, with Mars and Saturn,now in the S at sunset.

Mercury returns to the NW sky at its best, on the 30th; some 26

degrees from the setting sun.

A sneak peek into the skies of July, reveal a great Full Buck Moon

on July 3rd and a great chance to look at the Milky Way high overhead on the night of July19th…the Dark Of The Moon, or New Moon.

I’m off on my summer vacation in Florida, to visit the Kennedy Space Center and the ocean…to come back and start our new series “An Evening With Dr.Sky” at the AZ Challenger Center

in Peoria…Clear Skies!