Transit of Venus 2012

HAWAII • JUNE 3RD – 7TH, 2012

  SUNDAY, JUNE 3 ARRIVE KONA 8am 8pm Most U.S. flights arrive after dinner
  MONDAY, JUNE 4 DAY 1: FULL DAY OF CLASSES 8am 5pm Classes held onsite at the Marriott
  TUESDAY, JUNE 5 DAY 2: TRANSIT OF VENUS 10am 6:45pm 8:30pm: Celebration party & dinner
  WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6 DAY 3: KECK HEADQUARTERS 9am 4pm Free afternoon at the resort
  THURSDAY, JUNE 7 DAY 4: FLY HOME Or Optional trip to the Imiloa Center: 8:30am–4pm (party to follow)
Pre- and/or post-tour travel is easily added to your itinerary.
map of our trip

Your plane arrives Kona Int’l Airport (KOA)

Upon your arrival at Kona, you’ll grab a taxi for our hotel and conference center, the luxurious Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. This evening there will be a welcome reception (7pm) where you will enjoy cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres.

At the Marriott, choose to stay in a Garden/Mountain ($1,999), Pool ($2,199), Ocean View ($2,499), or Ocean Front ($2,599) room. (Prices are per-person, based on double occupancy and include the entire program, and your hotel stay, as described here.)


Kona: 200820092010


Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa room


View of the pool at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa
View of the pool and beach at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa

Waikoloa Beach Marriott — 8:30am to 5pm

Learn all about the Transits of Venus, past and present from Sky & Telescope Editor Robert Naeye. He and other famous astronomy speakers will be delivering several talks over the next couple of days. In addition to the talk described below, other scheduled talks include:

  • The Hubble Space Telescope’s Greatest Scientific Achievements
  • Asteroid Impact Threat
  • Cassini at Saturn, Part 1: The Planet and Rings
  • Cassini at Saturn, Part 2: The Moons

“Transits of Venus” class:

Bob NaeyeTransits of Venus across the face of the Sun (as seen from Earth) are among the rarest predictable spectacles in astronomy. Unless medical science invents some way to extend human life well beyond 100 years, the June 5, 2012 transit of Venus will likely be the last one anyone alive today will ever see. The next Venus transit won’t take place until December 2117 — 105 years from now. Transits of Venus always take place in pairs eight years apart, with the pairs separated by long intervals of either 105.5 or 121.5 years. Sky & Telescope editor Bob Naeye will explain the rare geometric aligments that must take place for transits of Venus to occur, and why they occur so infrequently and in a particular pattern. He will provide a historical overview of Venus transits, which scientists used to discover Venus’ atmosphere and measure the distance between Earth and the Sun. Bob, who watched the entire 2004 Venus transit from the tomb of Cyrus the Great (founder of the Persian Empire) in Iran, will describe how to view the transit safely, and what you can expect to see when Venus crosses the disk of the Sun.

Sunset at the beach

Waikoloa sunset on Big Island, Hawaii

Welcome to the Keck Observatory, at the summit of Mauna Kea

Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea

Today we climb Mauna Kea to the summit, to the Keck Observatory (pictured above), at nearly 14,000 feet of elevation, to observe the Transit. Above the cloud ceiling we’re practically guaranteed to have clear skies and a perfect view. For those sensitive to very high altitude, we will also be observing from the Mauna Kea VIS (aka Onizuka Visitor’s Center) at 9,300 feet.

“The summit of Mauna Kea provides dramatic scenery and an unforgettable visitor experience ... [but] presents unique challenges to visitors. Visits to the summit require a 30-minute acclimatization stop at the 9,300-foot VIS, warm clothing for the summit, and sunscreen for protection from excessive UV radiation. Temperatures on the summit can fall to 20 degrees Fahrenheit; it is highly recommended that all visitors to the summit take warm clothing and sturdy footgear sufficient to withstand the elements [including] very high winds.” —


  •  8:00am: start Departing the Waikoloa Beach Marriott
  • 11:30am: Arrive VIS, picnic lunch served
  • 12:10pm: Venus first touches Sun
  •  1:00pm: Group departs VIS for the Observatory on Mauna Kea
  •  4:00pm: Afternoon snack
  •  6:45pm: Transit ends, group departs VIS
  •  8:15pm: Return to Marriott
  •  8:30pm: Celebration reception and dinner



This morning we take a 30-minute bus drive to the Keck Observatory Headquarters (pictured at right) in Waimea. We’ll hear two lectures by prominent astronomers, “scope out” the Keck telescopes on the Mauna Kea summit (through a telescope in the lobby of the Headquarters), and spend some quality time in the unique gift shop.


  • 8:30am: Depart Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort
  • 9:00am: Arrive at Keck Observatory HQ for two 90-minute presentations and tour
  • 12:30pm: Depart Keck Observatory HQ
  • 1:00pm: Arrive at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort
  • Relaxed afternoon on the Resort property
Keck Observatory main building


DAY 5: THURSDAY, JUNE 7 — FLY HOME: Depart from KOA Airport

Optional tour to the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i is an astronomy and culture education center located in Hilo, Hawaii. It features exhibits and shows dealing with Hawaiian culture and history, astronomy (particularly at the Mauna Kea Observatories), and the overlap between the two.

‘Imiloa includes a 120-seat planetarium (right), which features a fulldome video projection system. Planetarium presentations include ‘Imiloa’s exclusive signature show, “Maunakea: Between Earth and Sky.” The bilingual exhibits (in Hawaiian and English) offer two views of Origins and Voyages, presenting the tools, visions, and discoveries of the astronomers and the Polynesian voyagers, the first group of whom are thought to have voyaged to Hawaii from the Marquesas Islands. Visitors to ‘Imiloa will leave with a new understanding of the early Polynesians, who used the stars to find these isolated islands in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. Hawaiians refer to these long-distance canoe explorers as “our first astronomers.” Another planetarium show, “Dawn of the Space Age 3D,” recounts the early days of space exploration, the so-called space race between the USSR and the USA. This is the only 3D planetarium show in the world.


  • 8:30am: Depart Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort
  • 10:00am: Arrive at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center for a private “insiders” presentation, a planetarium show, and time to roam the exhibits
  • 12:30pm: Lunch in Hilo
  • 2:00pm: Arrive at the Subaru Hilo Base Facility
  • 3:30pm: Depart the Subaru Hilo Base Facility
  • 5pm: Arrive at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort
  • Farewell cocktail party

Additional small theaters show a Kumulipo (Hawaiian origins) story,

Inside the planetarium at Imiloa


and an astronomy “birth of the universe” 3D presentation, underwritten by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (Subaru Telescope).

‘Imiloa opened to the public in February, 2006. It is part of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and is located near the base facilities for several of the Mauna Kea observatories in University Park for Science and Technology on the UH-H campus, overlooking Hilo Bay. Its unique architectural design includes three large titanium-clad cones, representing the volcanoes Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Hualālai. The extensive gardens feature native, endemic and “canoe plants” brought by the Polynesians. Exhibit halls, planetarium, gift shop, and Sky Garden café are open to the public Tuesday through Sunday.

The price for this optional tour is $299 pp plus the cost of an extra night in our hotel:
  * Garden View: $259
  * Pool View: $279
  * Ocean View: $319
  * Ocean Front: $339
The cost shown is the total room charge and not a per-person cost. Taxes (approximately 13.4%) are additional.


  • Garden/Mountain View: $1,999
  • Pool View: $2,199
  • Ocean View: $2,499
  • Ocean Front: $2,599
  • Please inquire for Suite pricing, if interested

All pricing is per-person based on double occupancy.

Download the schematic on room locations; download the amenities offered with each room.

A $600 per person advance payment along with a completed reservation form confirms your space. This $600 payment represents your “Deposit”. The balance is due February 1, 2012 (unless you book after February 1, in wish case the Balance due is due 14 days after you book).

Payments may be made by check, wire transfer, money order, or major credit card (Visa, Master Card, Discover, Diners Club, or American Express). Checks are to be made payable to InSight Cruises, in U.S. dollars only, and drawn on a U.S. bank.


$700 for Garden/Mountain view; $750 for Pool, Ocean-View, or Ocean-Front rooms. Single rates are capacity controlled and subject to change or withdrawal (prior to a confirmed booking) at any time.

SHARING OPTION — Avoid the single suppement charge! The prices are the same as the per person double occupancy rates (in the section above). Be sure to select the option on the online booking form that asks, “Do you want to share a room with another InSight Cruiser? (This is called our Share program.)” NOTE: Share room assignments are generally made at time of ticket issuance and shared room assignments are subject to change. You will be matched with members of the same gender, and we factor in age and geography where possible. Shares are guaranteed if you book outside of 120 days prior to the event. I.e. if you book within 120 days of our event, shares are not always available. Shares are not always available in rooms with an ocean view — but please inquire for availability if you are interested. Share attendees who smoke are not to do so in the room, unless their roommate specifically consents.


Not available.


The cost for addtional nights at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort varies based on your accommodation:

  • Garden View: $259
  • Pool View: $279
  • Ocean View: $319
  • Ocean Front: $339

The prices shown are the per-night total room charge and not a per-person cost. Taxes (approximately 13.4%) are additional.


  • Four hotel nights (including all taxes): June 3, 4, 5, & 6
  • Six classes
  • Roundtrip transportation (on our buses) to the summit of of Mauna Kea
  • Roundtrip transportation (on our buses) to the Keck Observatory in Waimea
  • Lunch and snack on Mauna Kea on June 5
  • Arrival cocktail party on June 3
  • Celebration cocktail reception and dinner at the Marriott on June 5


Passports and visa fees; air; meals and activities not specifically included in the tour; Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance (in addtion to what is below, details for obtaining this optional coverage will be provided with confirmation material); and items of a person nature, including Internet access, spa, and laundry services, etc.


  • Air Booking ($50 pp) — this fee is assessed if we book your air. Flights change often and this fee includes being notified of each and every change.
  • Refund ($30 or 4%, whichever is more, per refund transaction — i.e., each credit card refund or check mailed) if after payment you remove optional items or decide to change your method of payment and request a refund.
  • Third-Party Payor ($50 per credit card) — this fee is imposed if someone other than the traveler(s) is paying all or part of your tour cost.
  • Special Request Form ($25) — this is assessed for handling the paperwork for unique special requests some passengers may make of the hotels.


Any cancellation or change of status (or request for a change in status) which relates to your booking must be transmitted as soon as possible to InSight Cruises in writing or via email. If you have travel insurance, and there is an unnecessary delay in notifying us of your change in status, your “cancellation date” will be affected and will adversely affect your insurance reimbursement.

Name changes are permitted (except on air reservations) up to 30 days prior to arrival. Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to InSight Cruises (in writing or email):

  • Cancellation within 14 days of booking (prior to February 1, 2012): full refund
  • Cancellation more than 14 days after booking and prior to December 1, 2011: $250 cancellation fee
  • Cancellation on or after December 1, 2011 and prior to February 1, 2012: You forfeit your Deposit
  • Cancellations on or after February 1, 2012: no refund

Air and/or pre- and/or post-tour bookings, including but not limited to hotel packages, are subject to the same cancellation fees cited above.

If the tour is canceled by InSight Cruises for any reason, InSight Cruises shall incur no liability beyond the refund of all tour participants’ payments received. However, if InSight Cruises must cancel for reasons beyond its control, including but not limited to weather, disease, strikes, acts of God, acts of terrorism or war, InSight Cruises’s liability shall be limited to a refund of only those portions of the tour cost InSight Cruises is able to recover from suppliers.

All prices are subject to change until your booking is confirmed. We will notify you of any price changes, and await your acceptance, before your reservation is considered “booked” and confirmed. Before February 1, 2012, either party may cancel the booking within 14 days of initial Deposit, with no penalty, for any reason. We’ll send you an email confirmation (if you provide us with your email address) and an itemized invoice (“DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT CONFIRMATION”) via mail/post within three (3) business days of your Deposit. You must return a signed copy of your DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT CONFIRMATION form within 30 days of booking or your reservation is subject to cancellation. If you do not return this form by the FINAL PAYMENT date, your reservation will automatically be cancelled and cancellation penalties will be assessed. You will be sent reminders via email and by phone before your reservation is cancelled.


While a valid Passport is not required of U.S. citizens we strongly recommend it. Non-U.S. citizens residing in the United States will need valid Alien Registration (green) cards as well as a valid Passport. All travel documents such as passports, visas, ETAs, proof of citizenship, etc., that are required for entering Hawaii, and re-entry into the country of final destination are the responsibility of the passenger. Non-U.S. citizens are asked to check with their government’s agencies, embassies, or consulates to determine documentary requirements and/or needs for visas. You must have any required visas when boarding the airplane. You will be denied boarding without proper proof of citizenship and necessary visas.



InSight Cruises provides access to this insurance; Trip Insurance brochures (from M.H. and Travel Guard) are included with your initial invoice. We prefer Travel Guard for American citizens over 65 as Travel Guard is “first payer”; M.H. Ross is, by and large, less expensive for those younger than 65.

A few words about trip insurance — buy it.

When you book an InSight Cruise Tour, we include trip insurance brochures* in with your invoice. Please carefully consider buying this or other travel insurance.

We’ve never had a guest cancel because they won the lottery or had a brilliant stroke of fortune. More often than you would expect, we have had guests cancel because of pre-tour illnesses, sports injuries, broken bones, death in the family, unexpected surgery, emergency surgery, stolen passports, and general family uproar.

Life does throw curves. Spare yourself financial disappointment if your trip must be cancelled or is interrupted.

Look at all your options for trip insurance, and make certain your travel investment is protected.

*We offer two options:

1) Travel Guard Platinum is best for those with limited health insurance as it’s “First Payer” insurance. This product is ideal for those who rely on Medicare, for instance, or others who do not have healthcare coverage outside the United States. In addition, for those looking for “cancel anytime” coverage, for virtually any reason, Travel Guard’s Platinum insurance offers it. For a 50% premium surcharge, they’ll provide cancel-anytime for-any-reason insurance. However, they do not reimburse 100%. Please study the details on the enclosed brochure before you’re certain you need this additional coverage. Travel Guard’s Platinum product, M.H. Ross’ Advantage Bridge plan (see just below) will reimburse you 100% — assuming you have insured the full cost of your trip. Cancel Anytime must be purchased within 10 days of your initial Deposit. Please read about it here:

2) Another company we have very high regard for is M.H. Ross. Read about their Bridge product here: While they do not offer the advantage of “First Payer” (i.e., you will need to submit any during-the-trip medical expenses to them after you have submitted these expenses to your primary medical insurance carrier), they will reimburse you for your out-of-pocket health expenses plus about two dozen other potential loss items. In our opinion, if you’re under the age of 55, M. H. Ross’s Bridge product is the most cost-effective “trip cancellation and interruption” coverage available and we heartily recommend it.


We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since departure times and flights can change. Neither InSight Cruises or InSight Cruises’ partners, co-producers, sponsors, or agents accept liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with InSight Cruises’ events.


Additional pre- and/or post-tour hotel stays are available through InSight Cruises. Please call or email us for an exact quote.


Airfare from most major North American cities is available through us. InSight Cruises passes on the additional costs plus adds a $50 per person service fee. Please call or email us for an exact quote. All air prices are subject to change and not guaranteed until full payment is received for the air portion. Baggage fees and other charges may be directly assessed by airlines or airports. Once you are notified of your flight details please contact your airline directly for seat assignments. Be certain to confirm all air flights 48 hours prior to departure.


InSight Cruises accept no liability for the purchase, on your behalf, of non-refundable airline tickets. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant (Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance typically provides you with an allowance to buy replacements for your trip.) Most homeowners policies, and most airlines, cover your lost luggage.


InSight Cruises reserves the right to substitute hotels, if necessary. InSight Cruises reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in InSight Cruises’ judgement, conditions warrant, or if InSight Cruises deems it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our participants.


Participants on InSight Cruises tours may be photographed for educational and promotional purposes.


Smoking is not allowed aboard buses or during any indoor group activity.


InSight Cruises acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither InSight Cruises or InSight Cruises’ partners, co-producers, sponsors, or agents shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay, or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of InSight Cruises’ suppliers.

InSight Cruises may increase the tour cost if there are cost increases. If any tour member chooses not to participate in any included activity or meal, there will be no refund for that unused portion of the tour. If any tour member leaves or is removed from the tour, a refund only for refundable unused services shall be made. This tour may be sold in conjunction with the services of any airline. The passenger tickets in use by the carriers, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the carriers and the passenger. Carriers are not responsible for any act or omission or events during the time tour participants are not aboard their conveyances.

InSight Cruises reserves the right, without penalty, to decline to accept any person as a participant, or to require any participant to withdraw from the event at any time, when such action is determined by InSight Cruises’ staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety, or general welfare of the group or the individual participant, subject only to the requirement that the recoverable portion of the total amount paid that corresponds to the cost of unused services and/or accommodations be refunded, if applicable.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW: The undersigned has read carefully the RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER set forth above, the schedule of activities for this event, as well as the TERMS, CONDITIONS, and OTHER DETAILS of application and participation as set forth in the event brochure and/or the InSight Cruises webpages, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the event and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth above. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of event staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the event, the undersigned, on behalf of him or herself, his or her dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release Insight Cruises and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this event, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of event staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this event, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour.

Any litigation concerning this tour shall be brought in Los Angeles County, in the State of California, pursuant to the laws of California. Changes in this Responsibility Clause can be made only in writing and signed by an officer of InSight Cruises. Deposits paid by tour participant indicate acceptance of the above terms and conditions.


264 S. Meridith Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106 • 650-787-5665 • Copyright 2011 © InSight Cruises