Venus Transit

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astronomical diagram 1 Venus Transit

(credit: Mike Lynch)

Tuesday afternoon and evening (June 5), the planet Venus will cross in front of the face of the sun. Venus will appear as a dot across the face of the sun.

To see it directly you need a special pair of solar glasses or highly specialized welder’s glass. You never want stare at the sun otherwise, not even with a pair of sunglasses.

astronomical diagram 2 Venus Transit

(credit: The Society for Popular Astronomy)

You can also use a pair of binoculars or a telescope to project the image of the sun with the silhouette of Venus on it onto a piece of paper. Do not ever look at the sun with binoculars or a telescope directly. That could cause permanent blindness in less than second.

Unfortunately we won’t see the entire transit because of the sun setting around 9 p.m. By the time the sun sets Venus will have made it about a third of the way across the sun.

They’ll also be sites where you watch it online. One is Exploradorium. Another option for watching the eclipse is a special observing party that the Minnesota Astronomical Society will have Tuesday afternoon and evening at Baylor Park just north of Norwood Young America. For details, check out their website.

There’s also another Venus transit party at the University of Minnesota on top of the Physics building on the East Bank Campus.

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