Campbell Town's historical connection to rare astronomical event Wed 6 June 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Download hi-res version Tasmania's historical connection to a rare astronomical event has been celebrated today in Campbell Town The Premier, Lara Giddings, today witnessed the 2012 Transit of Venus, which occurs only twice every 243 years. "There have only been six transits since this event was first recognised in 1639 and this is the only chance we have to witness it in our lifetimes, with the next event occurring in 2117," Ms Giddings said. "Of course, this is not the first time Campbell Town has been centre stage for this rare astronomical phenomenon - In 1874 the town was one of only eight locations in the world selected by the US Naval Observatory to record the event. "Local surgeon and amateur astronomer Dr William Valentine successfully campaigned for observation equipment to be sent to Campbell Town and the iron pillars on which telescopes were mounted can still be seen at the entrance to his former property, the Grange. During the event the planet Venus appears as a black dot moving across the surface of the Sun. "Campbell Town is evidently a prime location for viewing this event and many places on Earth only have partial views or no views at all." Ms Giddings said the event co-insides with the recent launch of the Transit of Venus exhibition at Campbell Town's Heritage Highway Museum. The exhibition received funding and advice through Arts Tasmania's Small Museums and Collections and Roving Curator Programs. "I encourage all Tasmanians to visit the Heritage Highway Museum's recently launched Transit of Venus exhibition to learn more about Campbell Town's historical connection to this rare event," Ms Giddings said. The Heritage Highway Museum is housed in the former Court House (built 1905), at 103 High Street, Campbell Town and is open to the public Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.