Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Venus will travel by the Sun - today!

It is said that it happens once in a lifetime - if you are lucky.  Today at sunset, we will have the privilege to watch Venus transit through the Sun.  

According to NASA, the event has occurred 5 times before in recorded history.  They happened in 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882, 2004 and now in 2012.  It happens in pairs of 8 years apart, and the last one of 2004, happened the same year as the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004, giving this event an aura of bad luck.

There is an added factor that makes this week’s transit especially intriguing — Venus will appear to be transiting the Sun in a backwards motion!  This is due to an optical illusion, as the Earth orbits the Sun at a slower speed.  Interesting, huh?

If you are a bit science curious like me, I've found a website that if you enter your zip code, it'll tell you the best time to watch the transit.  Click here to get to it.

Ohhh, I can't wait!!!  In my little corner of the world, we will begin watching a bit after 6:00 pm, at sunset.  I hope I get to see it.

However, do not look at the Sun with the naked eye — even if you get to see it in the early hours of the morning.  Either use special solar viewing glasses for a few minutes at a time, or by using a telescope to safely project the image on to a screen.  Click here for more information on safe solar viewing from NASA.  Or here for a video on how you can use the binoculars to project an image of the sun.

I really hope you get to enjoy this once in a lifetime gift from the Universe!

Update: View a live stream from different parts of the world!  Click for Live Stream

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