Weather permitting, we could see a historic astronomical event today that won’t happen for another 105 years. The planet Venus will cross through the sun’s disc this evening.
Astronomers call this event a transit. It’s sort of like a planetary eclipse as Venus passes between the Earth and the sun, but given the distance between planets, Venus herself will only cast a tiny shadow across the sun. It will give a stunning sense of scale against the much larger Sun as Venus is similar in size to our own planet.
Here in Texas, Venus’ transit is due to begin around 5PM CDT this evening and last until sunset. This afternoon’s weather forecast calls for isolated storms, so cross your fingers that storm clouds won’t be blocking your view of this event, as it won’t happen again until 2117. If weather does become an issue, NASA will be webcasting the event live online at Space.com.
Word of caution, though. Your should never look directly at the sun without some sort of protection. You’ll need solar eclipse glasses, special filters for your telescope or binoculars, No. 14 welders glasses, or an easy-to-make solar eclipse pinhole viewer.
Space.com has more information on Venus’ rare transit & viewing tips.
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