Astronomers are set to observe one of the rarest astronomical events in modern history - the Transit of Venus. At this point, the planet Venus will pass between the Earth and the Sun, appearing like a black dot across the solar disc.
This event can be seen on the 5th & 6th June 2012 (depending on your whereabouts in the world) and it really will be your last chance to see it for yourself, as the next time it occurs all of us old enough to be reading this blog will be dead! It is a twice in a lifetime experience as they come in pairs just a few years apart, with the last one occurring in 2004. After this week’s Transit of Venus, it will not be seen again until December 2117. In fact, the Transit of Venus has only happened 6 times since the telescope was
Unfortunately those people living in most of South America and Western Africa – including us Brazilians – will not be able to witness this event for ourselves but will instead have to rely on news reports, or
alternatively visit http://venustransit.nasa.gov/transitofvenus/ for a NASA led live broadcast from Hawaii, occurring at 11.45am Hawaiian time.
However, a word of warning – NEVER ever look directly into the Sun, even via a telescope, as it can destroy retinal cells. Use appropriate solar shades, welders #14 mask, or build a pinhole projector – click here to learn more.