The rare astronomical event of a Transit of Venus across the sun will happen in Bloomington Normal beginning a little after five o'clock today and continue past sunset. Tom Wilmitch of Illinois State University's Planetarium is holding a safe sungazing event at the north end of the campus quad with telescopes and shadow boxes. Wilmitch says transits greatly advanced science in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Wilmitch says where you are on the earth determines when it begins and astronomers in various countries timed the transit and used triangulation to figure out the distances. He says that was one small step toward figuring out the size of the universe. The next time a transit of Venus happens will be the year 2117.
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