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Witnessing Venus Transit at NUS

31 May 2012

The Venus Transit astronomical phenomenon on 6 June will be the last for this century

Photo: Karl Tate,

Come 5 and 6 June, NUS will be abuzz with a series of activities to celebrate the Transit of Venus, one of the rarest sights in astronomy occurring only four times every two centuries. This will be the last occurrence of the astronomical phenomenon in the 21st century. In Singapore, it will be observed on 6 June before sunrise to 12.49pm.

A Transit of Venus happens when Venus, the Earth and the Sun are in precise alignment, with the silhouette of Venus being seen against the Sun. In the past, the phenomenon was used to gauge the size of the solar system.

At NUS, the Faculty of Science (FoS) will be marking the momentous occasion with a first-of-its-kind music performance combining cosmic microwave signals and brass sounds, stargazing, lectures by renowned scientists and an astronomy exhibition.

Join fellow astronomy enthusiasts on 5 June at Town Green@University Town for novel performances. Dr Robert Casteels, who wrote "Venus Transit Symphony" subtitled "For brass sounds, cosmic sounds, moving images and moving words", will be conducting the musical piece. It will be accompanied by a poetic text by award-winning playwright Huzir Sulaiman, to be delivered by actress Claire Wong. The first and second performances will be at 8pm and 9pm respectively.

Learn about astronomy at two public talks on 6 June morning. Emeritus Prof Roy Kerr of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand will be sharing about "Discovering the Universe". Prof Richard Strom, Visiting Professor and Astronomer at FoS' Department of Physics, will be speaking on "When Venus transits the Sun".

"Astronomy is a branch of natural sciences, arousing a lot of interest. As the premium institution for science in Singapore, we are interested to use this very special occasion to carry out educational outreach to the public," said Assoc Prof Chin Wee Shong, Vice Dean (Outreach and Student Life) at FoS. She hopes that the activities, made fun by combining with the arts, will help inculcate students' interest in the natural sciences.

Click here to know more about the activities.