Viewing the Transit of Venus on Hawaii

There is only one more chance in our lifetimes to see a Transit of Venus. If you are curious about this event, where do you go to see it?

Transit of Venus
The June 2004 Transit of Venus, image credit Jan Herold
Hawai’i is well placed to see the entire event. The transit starts just after noon, with the sun high in the sky. As the transit ends just before sunset, a clear western horizon will be required to witness final contact. For the true astronomical diehards, the summit of Mauna Kea will be the destination. With a clear view, above the clouds, the entire event will be visible.

For those folks who just want a nice view of the event, and do not necessarily need to watch for the entire seven hours, there are a number of easier options. To accommodate the public, there will be solar telescopes setup and manned by volunteers at a number of locations around the island…

  • Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station (MKVIS) A portion of the VIS parking lot will be converted into a viewing station. Telescopes with solar filters will be available. A NASA-sponsored live web cast of the Transit will be displayed inside the VIS and in the presentation room. Parking space at the VIS is limited. If parking fills, vehicles will be held below the VIS until parking becomes available. You may want to consider some of the other sites listed below.
  • ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, Hilo ʻImiloa will display the NASA webcast of the Transit. Leading up to the day of Transit, ʻImiloa will also be running a special planetarium show titled “When Venus Transits the Sun.”
  • W. M. Keck Headquarters, Waimea Livestream from the summit at headquarters in Waimea. Headquarters will be open until 6 p.m. Solar telescopes will be available. Free solar cards for viewing the Transit directly will be provided, while supplies last.
  • Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), Waimea Solar telescopes and a sunspotter will be available for the public. A raffle for a copy of “Hokuloa: The 1874 Transit of Venus Expedition to Hawaii” by Michael Chauvin will also be held.
  • Puʻu Koholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kawaihae From Noon till 4:30pm. Special glasses will be available, and a live webcast from the summit of Mauna Kea in the Visitor Center theater. As well, park rangers will give special presentations about the historical significance of this event throughout the day.
  • Natural Energy Lab in Kailua-Kona Mahalo to the Natural Energy Lab for sponsoring this event!
  • Keaʻau In the lot across from the Fire Station, Mahalo to W. H. Shipman Ltd for sponsoring this event!

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i.

2 thoughts on “Viewing the Transit of Venus on Hawaii”

  1. Mahalo for all that info, Andrew. Might want to include the date of the event. I’m hoping viewing conditions will be good from the East Hawaii locations you list here.

    1. I hope you get a good view. Just drive up Saddle far enough to get out of the clouds?

      The link in the first paragraph leads to a pile of information including dates, times, etc.

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