Chabot Reports Record Breaking Attendance for Venus Transit
Oakland CA, June 6, 2012 - Chabot Space & Science Center Executive Director & CEO, Alexander Zwissler, reported that Tuesday night's last-in-our-lifetime Venus Transit resulted in record paid attendance at Chabot since the 2001 opening of the current facility on Oakland's Skyline Boulevard. Throngs exceeding 2,500 poured into the Center with lines forming in advance of the doors opening at 2pm. Visitors were treated to exhibits, planetarium shows, science demonstrations and other activities, but the crowds gathered largely in lines on the Observatory Deck where several solar telescopes, including Chabot's original 1883 telescope, "Leah," were available for viewing the impressive 6-hour trip of Venus across the Sun's face, as viewed in many locations around Earth.
According to Zwissler, "There's a generation that grew up with the excitement of NASA missions, Halley's Comet, and Hubble telescopes images. The recent major astronomical events viewable on the West Coast - the Annular Solar Eclipse, the Lunar Eclipse, and the Venus Transit - have recharged that excitement and this generation now wants to share that feeling of tremendous awe with their children and grandchildren. We want to make sure that the public is aware that celestial events are happening every night, and even the more common sights of Jupiter or Saturn are spectacular when seen through a massive 20" refractor like the one we call 'Rachel.'"
Over the summer, Chabot will continue to feature astronomical events. The Center and telescopes are open to the public for extended summer hours Tuesday through Sunday (check the website for any change in schedule), and every Friday and Saturday night until 10pm. Some of the highlights:
The arrival of the Summer Solstice, marking the beginning of summer and the Northern Hemisphere full tilt toward the Sun is greeted on June 21 at 1:11pm. The time marks a moment when visitors in the Center can gather in the Central Rotunda to witness the ray of light streaming through the skylight in beautiful and precise alignment with the architectural design of the building entrance.
Saturday night, July 28 visitors will get a good view of the Southern Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower, producing potentially 20 meteors per hour at the peak.
August 3-5, the Center will host a northern California "Planetfest" in conjunction with the Planetary Society. The event coincides with the landing of the Mars Curiosity on August 5. The Center will project NASA-streamed coverage of the event onto the 70' giant screen Planetarium.
On Friday, August 24 visitors will be treated to Neptune at Opposition, meaning the blue planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and will be fully illuminated by the Sun, making a view through the telescopes most impressive. Also that night will be a Star Party Preview with editors of Astronomy Magazine and the East Bay Astronomical Society for our Friday night Telescope Maker's Workshop and conversations on Astro-Imaging, telescope viewing tips, and the basics of astronomy.
The next night, Saturday, August 25, Chabot is holding a day-long Star Party with Astronomy Magazine and Celestron Telescope Company.
For more information and updates visit www.chabotspace.org or call the box office at (510) 336-7373.
Chabot Space & Science Center, a Smithsonian affiliate, and Bay Area Certified Green Business, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit interactive science center whose mission is to inspire and educate students of all ages about Planet Earth and the Universe. Founded in 1883, the Center is located at 10000 Skyline Blvd. just off Highway 13 in the Oakland hills. For more information, visit www.chabotspace.org.
Media Contact: Melissa Rosengard, (510) 336-7379 or MRosengard@ChabotSpace.org