LEWISTON — Dozens gathered at Bates College on Tuesday evening to catch a glimpse of a rare astronomical event.

More than 30 people showed up at the Olin Arts Center terrace to view the “transit” of Venus across the face of the sun.

They won’t get another chance, not unless they live another 105 years. The transit of Venus was first recorded in 1639. Prior to Tuesday’s transit, the last recorded passing was in 2004. It won’t reoccur until 2117.

“I’m like this tiny speck and I get to see this incredible thing,” said a hopeful Shanon Kinsman of Lewiston.

Kinsman and Will Ambrose of Poland were among those hoping to witness the event through specially designed telescopes set up by Bates College faculty. However, clouds and a rain-burst may have ruined their chances of sneaking a peak at the dark spot crossing the disk of the setting sun as the planet passed between the Earth and the sun.

“It’s a one-shot deal,” Ambrose said. “This is literally once in a lifetime. It makes you feel small.”

Gene Clough, a lecturer in geology and physics at Bates, was obviously disappointed that the weather wasn’t cooperating. He said he often organizes such gatherings to give people a chance to see rare astronomical events.

In addition to Bates students, several residents came out for the event, including children eager to check out the telescopes.

“Why should anyone not want to catch something that won’t happen for another 105 years?” Clough asked. “I don’t want anybody to walk through the world like a zombie and not pay attention to what’s going on around them.”


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