Venus event hopes to inspire love of science

Yorkshire astronomers hope a once-in-a-lifetime event will inspire the next generation of scientists after Venus passed directly between the Sun and Earth so it could be seen crossing the face of the star.

It was the last chance for the current generation of astronomers to see the transit of Venus, which will not happen again until 2117.

Academics from the Bradford Robotic Telescope (BRT) team were responsible for a project to collect data from across the world aimed at inspiring children to pursue scientific careers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The BRT team were in Whitby yesterday from dawn with 100 schoolchildren in the hope of catching a glimpse of the transit of Venus.

The town was chosen due to its close links with Captain James Cook, who lived in Whitby before embarking on his famed global exploration.

Captain Cook led an international programme in 1796 to measure the distance to the Sun by observing the transit from Tahiti in the Pacific.

While poor weather meant the Sun was not visible from Whitby yesterday, the BRT team stressed the importance of the town’s heritage in astronomy to the children, who attended the event from 4.30am.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The BRT’s project leader, Dr John Baruch, said: “The children were fascinated to think that they were in many ways following in the footsteps of Captain Cook.

Astronomy is one of the easiest areas of science to get involved in, and this event was all about inspiring a future generation of scientists.”

The BRT is used by 100,000 people across the globe, and 3,000 of them agreed to take part in yesterday’s project to measure the time it took for Venus to pass across the Sun.

Information has been provided from across the world including locations such as China, Japan, Russia and Canada.

By comparing the different sets of data, children will be able to measure exactly how far their location is from the Sun.