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July 5, 2012

By Rachel L. Smith

Research & Collections

Venus Transit at the Nature Research Center

On June 5, 2012, over 1300 people came to the Nature Research Center to observe this century’s last transit of Venus — when the planet Venus passes across the Sun’s surface as observed from certain places on Earth. At the top of the DENR (Department of Environment & Natural Resources) parking deck, a range of instruments were available for safe viewing of the Sun, including solar glasses equipped with special filters, a 90-mm solar telescope with a hydrogen-alpha (H-alpha) filter that shows the Sun as a bright orange orb with occasional solar flares, and various solar telescopes with white light filters.

This special solar telescope was provided for this celestial event by Appalachian State University, a partner institution with the Nature Research Center, and academic affiliate to the Astronomy Lab Director, Dr. Rachel L. Smith. The telescope is now permanently housed in the…

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