The Transit of Venus This Evening!
A very rare astronomical event will occur Tuesday evening: the transit of Venus. This is when Venus passes across the face of the Sun. We are only able to see this happen here on Earth approximately once every one hundred years! The transits occur in pairs and this is the second. The first transit occurred in 2004 and gave scientists an unprecedented view of the Venusian Atmosphere. With this being such a rare event, scientists will be monitoring the transit closely to further study our closest neighbor in the solar system. Here in North Alabama we will be able to see the beginning of the transit tomorrow at sunset. If you want to observe the transit, don’t stare at the sun with the naked eye! Unless you have the proper equipment to observe the sun safely, head over to http://www.nasa.gov – they will have a webcam set up so you can view the transit.
You can also visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center on Tuesday evening to view the Transit of Venus! The USSRC and the Von Braun Astronomical Society will host a free viewing outside the Davidson Center for Space Exploration between 4:30 PM and 8:00 PM. There will also be some children’s activities starting at 5:30 PM.
Decatur Heritage Christian Academy will host a public viewing event in the school’s front parking lot. Dr. Gordon Telepun, a Decatur plastic surgeon and space enthusiast, will set up a telescope and project the event on a portable screen so everyone can see it. DHCA asks that you arrive about 4:30 p.m. to orient yourselves with the details of the Transit of Venus.
This is the last time most of us will ever have a chance to see the Transit of Venus live and in-person. The next transit will be in 2117!