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Science & Technology

Venus Transit Popularity Generates Keck Donations

An observatory broadcasting the transit of Venus live on the Internet from Hawaii's highest summit was allowed to keep its stream going thanks to $7,000 in donations from viewers.

A live stream for the W.M. Keck Observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island became way more popular than anticipated on Tuesday during the rare celestial event.

Larry O'Hanlon, the observatory's spokesman, says the stream went over budget when its viewership soared beyond its subscription. He feared having to shut it down to avoid blowing $6,000 past his budget. The astronomers hosting told viewers and money poured in.

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O'Hanlon says the observatory funded by the University of California, the California Institute of Technology and the University of Hawaii was just trying to break even.