posted June 7, 2012

Observatory Captures a Moment in Time

The college’s Harry F. Frissel Observatory, located on the roof of VanderWerf Hall, captured a unique moment on Tuesday, June 5: the beginning of the recent transit of Venus across the front of the sun.

Occurring in pairs eight years apart (2004 and 2012 this time), the phenomenon last took place in the latter 1800s and next will occur in the 22nd century. Faculty member Dr. Peter Gonthier, professor of physics, and summer-research students Caleb Billman (Hope) and Catherine Fitch (Grinnell College) prepared the observatory and then triggered its camera remotely while observing the event with about 20 other students through telescopes they set up at Lake Michigan.