Astronomers and volunteers at Chabot Space & Science Center are preparing for crowds over the next couple of weeks when three major astronomical events occur.
On the afternoon of Sunday, May 20, viewers on the West Coast will get an especially clear view of an annular solar eclipse. This is a rare sight in which the rim of the Sun becomes a brilliant ring completely encircling the silhouette of the Moon. Chabot will be open past normal closing for a viewing party on the observatory deck from 5 to 8 p.m. The eclipse maximum occurs at 6:32 p.m. In addition to hands-on solar projects and DIY pinhole cameras, experienced astronomers will be on deck to guide visitors through safe viewing. Tickets are $5 and available after 5 p.m. online or by phone at 510-336-7373.
On Monday, June 4, Chabot’s Observatory Deck will be open from 2 to 5 a.m. for a lunar eclipse. Visitors can engage in conversation with Chabot’s astronomers and knowledgeable volunteers as they witness the Moon’s passing behind the Earth. The suggested donation is $3.
On Tuesday, June 5, the transit of Venus will occur between 3 and 10 p.m. Transit viewing is free to the public with general admission to the Chabot facility. This is the last time Venus will pass in front of the Sun until 2117. The event includes hands-on activities, live broadcasts from NASA, floor demonstrations and viewing through Chabot’s special solar scopes and sun spotters. Transit will be most visible from the Bay Area from 3:06 to 9:50 p.m.
According to Chabot CEO Alexander Zwissler, “this series of celestial events is the equivalent of the baseball triple play … rare and very exciting, and in the case of the Venus transit, the last show of our lifetimes.”
For advance tickets and admission, visit www.chabotspace.org or call 510-336-7373.