‘Transit of Venus’ Coming to a Sky Near You
Do you think 2012 should officially be named the year of the sun and moon? It sure seems like it. So far, we’ve had the Supermoon and then the burning “Ring of Fire” annular solar eclipse graced us with its presence. Now, we can look forward to the “transit of Venus.”
This spectacular event is when Venus slowly crosses the face of the sun, as you can see from the above image. If you have other plans, you better reschedule because it won’t happen again for at least another century, TIME reports.
Clear your calendars for the afternoon of Tuesday, June 5 if you want to see the phenomenon. The U.S. will catch the beginning of the transit before the sun sets, while those living in the Eastern Hemisphere, who can observe it Wednesday morning, will see the end of it after sunrise. The entire transit will last 6 hours and 40 minutes.
As always, don’t stare directly at the sun with the naked eye, but be sure to wear protective eyewear. Here are some tips we reported on how to look at the “ring of fire” safely.
According to David DeVorkin, a senior curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, “You have to know it’s happening.” There will be no change in the brightness of sky; everything will look as it always does.
If you’re determined to see Venus pass in front of the sun, then you better book travel arrangements for Hawaii as soon as possible. The Aloha State is considered one of the best observation spots.
Johannes Kepler, a German astronomer, was the first to predict the “transit of Venus” in the 17th century. Since then, only six have occurred. Another interesting fact about the transit is they happen in pairs. The last one was in 2004.
The transit was even popular back in the day. It was so popular that American composer John Philip Sousa wrote a song titled the “Venus Transit March,” NASA reports. Even though the song wasn’t exactly written for the transit, but was created to commemorate physicist Joseph Henry, the spectacle still has a song with its name.
NASA is graciously hosting a live webcast, so you can watch it from the comfort of your own home. The next pair of transits will ensue in 2117 and 2125.