Kids transfixed by Venus transit

Bundamba State Secondary College students from left, Adam Yarrow, and Sean Priman, with the help of Professional Surveyor Andrew Owen are using Solarscopes.
Bundamba State Secondary College students from left, Adam Yarrow, and Sean Priman, with the help of Professional Surveyor Andrew Owen are using Solarscopes. David Nielsen

STARGAZERS across Ipswich will be hoping for clear skies tomorrow morning to watch the one of the solar system's most significant sights.

Telescopes will be focused on the transit of Venus, watching the Earth's closest neighbour as it eclipses the earth, appearing as a black dot across the sun's surface.

It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch the event, as the next will not occur for another 106 years and the students at Bundamba State High are determined not to miss it.

They will have a clear view of the Venus's journey through two solar scopes, designed to shield the students' eyes from the sun's bright rays.

Senior maths teacher Bevan Primrose said the school's maths B and C students would plot the planet's course using trigonometry.

The solar scopes were prizes in a competition run by the University of New South Wales.

He expects the rare phenomenon to attract many students to view Venus's six-hour journey with the aid of the solar scopes.

"It's been mentioned on TV and radio a fair bit. It's a bit like Halley's Comet and that got a lot of interest with in the general community and this is also generating a lot of interest," he said.

Year 11 Maths C students Adam Yarrow and Sean Priman will be following Venus's progress during the morning, but won't be excused from all of their classes.

The pair will turn their attention from the text book to the sky for a real-time maths lesson.

"We will be here as much as possible before school," Adam said.

Sean just likes to study the universe.

"We have been showed how to use the solar scopes and they're pretty simple to use," he said.

Surveyor Andrew Owen presented the solar scopes to the students.

"We really want schools to encourage their students to take an interest in the transit of Venus as it touches on so many subjects like space, maths, science, geography, engineering and of course surveying," he said.

"We have a looming skills shortage in the surveying and geospatial profession and want students who like science or maths to consider studying it at university or TAFE."



  • The transit of Venus has been observed in 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and 2004.
  • The transit of Venus is expected to begin at 8.15am.
  • Venus passes between the Earth and Sun every 19 months, but it isn't seen across the Sun as its orbital path is above or below it.

Topics:  eclipse venus

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