On Tuesday, June 5 people in the US will have the opportunity to view (provided skies are clear) a spectacular and rare astronomical event – the 2012 transit of Venus. Essentially what will happen is that the planet Venus will pass directly between the Earth and Sun. With proper viewing equipment (see below) Venus will appear as a small, black disk passing across the face of the Sun. The transit will continue until sunset. If you missed the 2004 transit of Venus, this is quite literally a once in a lifetime event. The next one won’t occur until the year 2117.
A few notes about viewing the transit: always use extreme caution when attempting to view the Sun. Everyone should note the following: looking directly at the Sun is extremely dangerous and is to be avoided. Using pinhole projection to view a projected image of the transit is the safest viewing method. #14 welders glass offers sufficient eye protection. Sunglasses do NOT offer sufficient eye protection. Telescopes and binoculars are absolutely not safe unless properly filtered with the correct solar filter accessory. There is much more information on the transit including more on eye safety and where else in the world it can be viewed at the following link:
In northeast Iowa the transit begins around 5:00 PM CDT and continues until sunset. The current forecast is for partly cloudy skies. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because my viewing luck has not been great lately. I struck out on both of the recent partial eclipses.