New Planetarium Show Details Rare Planetary Alignment
Later this year, an astronomical event will take place that is so rare it has only happened six times since the invention of the telescope. While the Venus Transit won't take place until June 5, visitors to Bays Mountain Park can learn more about this very unique and rare phenomenon thanks to a new Bays Mountain Planetarium Production titled When Venus Transits the Sun.
"When Venus Transits the Sun is a fantastic show that looks into the rare and magnificent celestial apparition called a Venus transit," said Astronomy and Space Sciences Program Coordinator Adam Thanz. "The show covers what a transit is, a famous transit viewing from the 18th century led by Captain James Cook, and exciting information about the sun and Venus. There is also a live component to the show that allows the audience to participate in two fun activities."
A Venus transit is when the planet Venus is seen passing in front of the sun. Thanks to telescope technology in the 18th century, the Venus transit provided the first opportunity for astronomers to accurately determine the size of the Solar System.
A large part of what makes the Venus transit so special is its rarity. Two consecutive transits occur eight years apart. But, these pairs are separated by 105.5 and 121.5 years alternatively. The last transit occurred in 2004. The next one will be June 5, 2012. After the 2012 event, the next pair of Venus transits will not take place until 2117 and 2125!
Bays Mountain Planetarium staff is in the planning stages of hosting a public viewing of the Venus transit on June 5. Due to an anticipated large response from the public, the viewing of the transit will not take place at Bays Mountain. Details on an alternate location are presently being worked out, however, an announcement will follow once completed.
Unlike most planetariums, Bays Mountain's Planetarium staff produces their own shows. Written by Adam Thanz and Woodrow Grizzle, Artwork for When Venus Transits the Sun was completed by Exhibits Technician Deborah Mann and Senior Exhibits Technician Allen Davis. 3-D Visualization is courtesy of Thanz, Davis and Astronomy and Space Sciences Program Administrator Jason Dorfman, who also produced, composed and performed the show's audio. Voice talent was provided by Palak Shah and Tony Hewitt. Thanz was also responsible for the show's production and direction.
When Venus Transits the Sun can be seen Tuesday thru Friday at 4:00 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. A double feature of Two Small Pieces of Glass and Galileo's Skies is also offered at 2:00 p.m. only on the weekends. Tickets are just $4.00 per person per show. Park members are admitted free with the use of their pass.
For more information and for updated seasonal hours visitors are encouraged to visit online at www.baysmountain.com.
Annually, more than 150,000 visitors pass through Bays Mountain Park making it one of the State of Tennessee's Top 50 Most Visited Attractions, according to the State of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
One of the nation's largest city-owned parks with 3,550 acres, Bays Mountain Park features 40 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking, a state-of-the-art planetarium, wildlife habitats, fun exhibits, a 44-acre lake, and much, much more.
Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium
853 Bays Mountain Park Rd.
Kingsport, TN 37660