News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: June 1, 2004


Montgomery College Astrophysicist to Host Public Viewing
of Rare Celestial Event
Dr. Harold Williams - ‘No Person Alive Today Has Seen the Transit of Venus’

 Tuesday, June 8 – 6:00 to 7:26 a.m.

Montgomery College-Takoma Park
Top Deck of College’s Parking Garage
Fenton and King Streets
Silver Spring
, Maryland (on Takoma Park border)

             At sunrise on Tuesday, June 8, the planet Venus will pass in front of the sun as seen from Earth, a phenomenon known as the “Transit of Venus.”  In the past, data acquired from transits enabled astronomers to determine the distance between the Earth and the sun.  The transit, which has never been seen by anyone alive today, made front page news around the world when it last occurred on December 6, 1882.  

Dr. Harold A. Williams, planetarium coordinator and adjunct professor at Montgomery College, will host a public viewing of the Transit of Venus on Tuesday, June 8, from 6 – 7:26 a.m., on the roof of the Montgomery College-Takoma Park parking garage, Fenton and King Streets, Silver Spring, Maryland (on the Takoma Park border).  Students, amateur and professional astronomers, and members of the community of all ages are invited to participate in the viewing.

If it is a clear morning, Dr. Williams will have several telescopes, box viewers, and projection viewers available for the public to use to watch the historic event unfolding from sunrise until 7:26 a.m.  If it is cloudy or raining, Internet-connected computer projections will be set up on the fourth floor of the parking garage instead of the top floor. 

To learn more about Venus Transit and the Montgomery College event, log on to:  For directions to Montgomery College-Takoma Park, go to and click on “Directories.” 

Dr. Harold A. Williams, an astrophysicist, is available for interviews in the days leading up to Venus Transit.  A member of the American Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society, and the American Association of Physics Teachers, Dr. Williams has educated countless children, students, and members of the community about astronomy during his monthly talks at the College’s planetarium.  To set up an interview, contact Elizabeth Homan, media relations director, at 240-567-7970 or Steve Simon, director of communications, at 240-567-7952.

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 Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, plus workforce development and continuing education centers in Gaithersburg, Wheaton and  Silver Spring. The College serves nearly 50,000 students a year, through both credit and non-credit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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