A rare and beautiful astronomical event will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, June 5th, 2012.
The planet Venus will be in transit…. passing directly between the Sun and the Earth and becoming visible to us as a small, dark disk moving across the face of the Sun.
photo from ecorazzi.com
The only planetary transits observable on Earth are of Mercury and Venus. Mercury has an average of 13 transits every 100 years. The Transit of Venus, however is phenomenal, occurring in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with a pair of transits eight years apart. In this century, the prior transit was on June 8, 2004. After 2012, the next transit of Venus will take place in December 2117!
The entire event will be widely visible from the western Pacific, northwester North America, eastern Asia (including Japan and the Philippines) and eastern Australia.
I can honestly say that I will not be holding on until 2117 to witness the next transit of Venus, which is why I am dedicating a few hours of my afternoon to catch a glimpse and say my aloha to the beautiful planet. Lucky I am an island girl and live in Hawaii, as it is one of the best locations to witness this spectacular occasion.
According to transitofvenus.org, the local transit times in Honolulu are between 12pm – 6pm.
NASA EDGE at Mauna Kea (through partnership with UH Institute of Astronomy on the Big Island of Hawaii) will also be having a live webcast during this time. Watch it here.
When viewing the sun, take precautions! Construct a pinhole-camera, or a pinhole mirror. If available utilize binoculars or a telescope, but remember, do not look DIRECTLY at the sun! Venus should appear as a tiny dot on the projected image. You can also consider purchasing a shade 13 or 14 arc-welder’s glass.
Hope everyone can get to see The Transit of Venus; you won’t want to miss such an astonishing occurrence of this lifetime.