Once in a Lifetime View of Venus Tuesday
The Transit of Venus happens once every 124 years
Anchorage - A once in a lifetime event occurred over the skies of Alaska on Tuesday. The Transit of Venus won't happen again for 124 years and one of the best places to catch the action was in Alaska.
The amazing astronomical event drew crowds to the roof of a parking garage on the UAA campus, starting at 2 p.m. when the planet of Venus appeared as a tiny, dark, dot on the surface of the sun.
Tim Young, a visiting astronomy professor from the University of North Dakota, explained that Venus is one of two planets between the Earth and the Sun and the alignment must be just right to witness Venus make the seven-hour trek across the face of the sun.
"When Venus is just inside the sun there's a bridge of black going out to the edge," Says Young while looking through a high tech telescope. "After that it looks like a small, black, drop on the surface of the sun."
Alaska is one of only two places in the country where the entire 7-hour transit was visible. Hawaii is the other. Crowds from all over the world flocked to Anchorage to see it.
"I read about it in a book as a small child," said Eduardo Rubio, an astronomy professor at the University of Mexico who was watching intently. "I marked my calendar for 2012 in America when it would appear again."
Another visitor from London said he had flown specifically to see the Transit over Alaska skies, but there were plenty of locals as well. They took turns in line to view through the telescopes on the parking garage roof and talk with experts about what they were seeing.
The transit ended shortly before 9 p.m. on Tuesday: a bit of history and a once in a lifetime view for those who looked to the sky.