Dozens of people lined up to see the transit of Venus on Tuesday evening at the University of Saint Francis.
It was a chance for the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society to give people an out-of-this-world experience. At around 7 p.m. clouds had rolled in to cover the images projected through telescopes and a viewer with mirrors as lines of gawkers waited patiently.
Chris Highlen, the society's director, asked for a little divine intervention when Sister Elise Kriss, president of the University of Saint Francis, and fellow nuns came out to the soccer fields for the viewing. It worked. The clouds moved on as lines reformed for a chance to view through one of several telescopes with filtered lenses or snap a cell phone photo of a displayed image.
A hazy glowing ball with a small black circle like a pencil point on it slowly formed. Some darker spots, or sun spots, were areas that are 1,000 to 2,000 degrees cooler than the rest of the sun, the astronomy group explained. Alan Parreis, an astronomical society member, said that Venus is only a couple of hundred miles in diameter bigger than Earth so it's what we'd look like compared to the sun.
Dave Walda brought his sons, Silas, 4, and Caleb, 6. They were inside the Saint Francis planetarium where Internet viewing and reports were set up when someone came in to say the clouds had moved, he said. "It's just a once in a lifetime" event, he said.
The next transit is 105 years away.
The society has moved its telescope to Jefferson Township Park, at South Webster and Dawkins Roads, where it will give viewings every clear Saturday night at around 9 p.m.