Friends of the Zeiss                                    

P.O. Box 1041                                                                   

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

Telephone: 412-561-7876

Electronic Mail: < >

Internet Web Site: < >


                       NEWS RELEASE


For immediate release: 2004 June 3

For more information -- Glenn A. Walsh:

                    Daytime: E-Mail < >

                    Evening: Telephone 412-561-7876




Pittsburgh, June 3 – The stars and planets appear to move above us like clockwork each year. And, from time-to-time, the sky becomes even more interesting when there is an 
eclipse or the sighting of a new comet.
However, there is one astronomical event that is so rare that no person living on Earth today has seen it. In fact you have to go all the way back to 1882 to find someone who has seen 
this unusual apparition—such as John Philip Sousa, who was so intrigued by this event that he composed a march in its honor!
Early Tuesday morning, June 8, people in the eastern part of North America will have the chance to witness this very special event—a Transit of the Planet Venus across the image of 
the surface of the Sun. Safe public viewing of this rare astronomical event, using an 8-inch Celestron reflector telescope, will be offered free-of-charge on the outdoor observation deck 
outside of the Upper Station of The Duquesne Incline, directly across the river from the Point Park fountain, on Pittsburgh’s Mt. Washington. Free-of-charge public parking for people 
attending this observing session is available at The Duquesne Incline’s parking lot located near the Ft. Pitt Bridge, between West Carson Street and the Ohio River, just across the street 
from the Incline’s Lower Station. Interested members of the public can use the Incline to reach the Upper Station’s observation deck, to witness this historic event.
A solar transit of a planet is when the planet can be seen (using safe solar viewing techniques) in the daytime as it moves across the image of the surface of the Sun. The planets 
Mercury and Venus are the only planets that can be seen transiting the Sun from the Earth, as these are the only planets closer to the Sun than Earth. A solar transit of the planet 
Mercury occurs from time-to-time, but is fairly rare and difficult to see due to the small size of Mercury.
A solar transit of the planet Venus is extremely rare, as it only happens twice, each spaced eight years apart during a period of more than one hundred years! Indeed, only six such 
events have occurred since the 1609 invention of the astronomical telescope (1631, 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, and 1882). The last solar transit of Venus occurred on 1882 Dec. 6. The next 
one will occur on 2012 June 6. However, after 2012 there will not be another solar transit of Venus until 2117 Dec. 11!
On June 8, the complete transit of Venus, from one side of the Sun to the other, will take about six hours. Unfortunately, viewing of the entire transit is only possible in Europe, as well as 
most of Africa and most of Asia. For viewers in the eastern part of North America, only the last hour and a half of the transit will be visible, immediately after sunrise.
In Pittsburgh, although the best viewing will probably occur between 6:15 and 7:00 a.m., the safe telescopic view at The Duquesne Incline will be available for the entire event from 
sunrise (in Pittsburgh: 5:50 a.m.) through 7:26 a.m. This free-of-charge observing session, co-sponsored by Friends of the Zeiss and The Duquesne Incline, will take place so long as 
clouds do not completely obscure the Sun.

On June 8, the 8-inch reflecting telescope on the observation deck adjacent to the Upper Station of The Duquesne Incline will project the image of the Solar Transit of Venus onto a portable movie screen, for safe viewing. Observing the Sun, with a telescope, should only be attempted by people who have received the proper training. Observing of the Solar Transit of Venus, at the Upper Station of The Duquesne Incline, will be supervised by former Buhl Planetarium lecturer, and astronomical observatory coordinator, Glenn A. Walsh.

                                                ( More – Over )


News Release: Safe Viewing of Rare Astronomical Event 2004 June 3                Page 2 of 2


NEVER look directly at the Sun, a solar eclipse, or a solar transit of a planet with a telescope or binoculars, unless you have special training and special equipment to do so safely. Otherwise, this would cause PERMANENT BLINDNESS INSTANTLY!                           

NEVER look directly at the Sun, a solar eclipse, or a solar transit of a planet with your unaided eye. This could cause MAJOR EYE DAMAGE and POSSIBLE BLINDNESS! Eye damage can occur rapidly, without any pain, since there are no nerves in the eyes.

For further questions about safely viewing the Solar Transit of Venus --

send an electronic mail message to < >

or telephone 412-561-7876.

Friends of the Zeiss is a two-year old non-profit organization whose mission is the eventual reinstallation and reuse of historic equipment and artifacts from Pittsburgh’s original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, including the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and the 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope.

Prior to its 2002 October dismantling, the historic Zeiss II Projector was the oldest operable major planetarium projector in the world! More information about Friends of the Zeiss, including a comprehensive history of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, can be found at the Internet web site: < >.

For 127 years, The Duquesne Incline has transported commuters and visitors between West Carson Street, near the Fort Pitt Bridge, and the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Duquesne Heights every day of the year, including weekends and all holidays. The Duquesne Incline operates Monday through Saturday 5:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. and Sunday and all holidays 7:00 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.; the last car departs both Upper and Lower Stations promptly at 12:45 a.m.

On May 20, The Duquesne Incline opened a new platform that allows the public to view the operation of the historic equipment which moves the two cable cars, located at the Upper Station. The Incline’s Upper Station also includes a small Museum, Gift Shop, and an Observation Deck for viewing Pittsburgh’s beautiful Golden Triangle, ranked the second most scenic view in America by USA Weekend magazine. The Upper Station of The Duquesne Incline is located in the center of the city’s “restaurant row,” which includes such well-known restaurants as Le’Mont, Pasquarelli’s, The Tin Angel, Georgetown Inn, and the Monterey Bay Fish Groto Restaurant.

Free-of-charge parking is available for Duquesne Incline patrons at the parking lot between West Carson Street and the Ohio River. All visitors should use the pedestrian bridge, which crosses West Carson Street, when walking between the parking lot and the Lower Incline Station.

More information about The Duquesne Incline, including the Incline’s history, can be found on the Incline’s Internet web site at URL: < >.

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