Transit of Venus, Sun-Earth Day 2012

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Transit of Venus, Sun-Earth Day 2012

Program Ideas

There are many ways to participate in Sun-Earth Day. This year, Sun-Earth Day is celebrated on March 19,2012 for the Annual Equinox Celebration; and on June 5, 2012 for the Transit of Venus Celebration. However, you can also celebrate our connection to the Sun any time of the year, either as a special event or as part of your regular programs.

image of eclipse totality

Sun Observations and Astronomy Activities with Amateur Astronomers or Solar System Ambassadors

Amateur astronomy clubs throughout the US and around the globe frequently host "star parties" to share both daytime and nighttime astronomy with the public. Inviting a local astronomer from your area is one way to enhance your education programs and to offer your audience a chance to view the sun through a solar telescope. Don't forget to visit the Amateur Astronomers section of our site for more info.

The Solar System Ambassadors program, sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is a public outreach program designed to work with motivated volunteers across the nation. These volunteers, many of them amateur astronomers and educators, communicate the excitement of space exploration to people in their local communities and are a good resource for your Sun-Earth Connection events. Visit Solar System Ambassadors for information and examples of past events in your area.

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Special Event with a Local Scientist

Scientists studying the Sun and its impact on Earth can bring the excitement of their latest research to your education programs. Past museum programs have hosted talks and question-answer sessions with scientists as part of their Sun-Earth Day celebrations. If you would like to invite a scientist to participate in your events, please contact Carolyn Ng.

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Kiosk or Computer Station

With access to a computer or a simple kiosk/computer station, you can create an instant exhibit that allows users to explore Sun-Earth Connection in depth. Total Eclipse: Solar Eclipses and the Mysteries of the Corona, Space Weather Media Viewer, and Traditions of the Sun are all available for free online and on CD-ROMs by request.

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Cultural Programs

Not only is the Sun an important focus of scientific research, it has also been an important cultural and spiritual symbol to people around the world both in the past and today. In fact, celestial events such as total eclipses have inspired people to observe and understand the Sun-Earth-Moon system. As with Sun-Earth Day 2005, Ancient Observatories - Timeless Knowledge, and Eclipse 2008 we encourage education programs where the public can explore the science of the Sun within its cultural context. Visit the Exploratorium website for examples of past programs.

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Solstice and Equinox

Solstices are special days of the year with the most and least hours of daylight; equinoxes are days with equal hours of daylight and night. These are wonderful opportunities for people to become aware of the motion Earth relative to the Sun and understand how it affects the seasons. These days are also celebrated in many cultures and often used to guide planting and harvest.

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Children's Literature Program / Story Time

For a list of books that focus on eclipses and Sun-Earth Connection, visit the Children's Books page in our Multimedia section. Some of these books are available for free by request or online in a digital format.

NASA Fact

During intense solar flares, astronauts see bright flashing streaks of light as a result of high-energy particles zipping through their eyeballs.