It's now or never for astronomers of all stripes to watch the planet Venus crawl for about six hours across the face of the sun. That's something that won't happen again for another 105 years.
It's called a "Transit of Venus" and it occurs Tuesday in the western hemisphere and Wednesday in the eastern hemisphere, which is where Sky and Telescope magazine's Kelly Beatty is waiting for the transit. He'll watch on Point Venus on the island of Tahiti, one of the best seats on Earth to see this rare celestial event.
In North America, you can watch a partial Venus Transit starting at about 6:00 pm Eastern time and lasting until sunset Tuesday.
But as Sky & Telescope notes, if you're planning on viewing the transit, make sure to protect your eyes:
You'll need to take careful precautions when attempting to view the transit. There are several good ways to do this safely. You can view through special "eclipse shades" (not regular sunglasses) or a dark rectangular arc-welder's glass (#13 or #14). Or, you can set up your telescope or even tripod-mounted binoculars to project the Sun's image onto a white card or other flat surface. Solar filters are also made to fit over the front of your telescope. Check out these safe-viewing options recommended by the editors of Sky & Telescope.
- Sky & Telescope: See The Transit Of Venus
- Kelly Beatty, Sky & Telescope Magazine
This segment aired on June 4, 2012.