Transit of Venus 2012: Safety Tips

Tuesday's transit of Venus can be viewed safely, if certain precautions are taken.

upper division students will get the chance to see a once-in-a-lifetime astrological event on Tuesday as Venus travels between the Sun and Earth.

Science teacher Cay Enns will be setting up a telescope for students on campus at 3:30 p.m.

The last time Venus traveled between the Sun and Earth was 105 years ago and the event won't happen again until 2117, according to NASA.

  • Above: Watch NASA's live streaming coverage of the Venus trip from the top of Mount Mauna Kea, Hawaii at 2:45 p.m.

It's not a major event in astrological terms, but one you may not witness again in your lifetime. If the right precautions are taken, you can safely view the event yourself.

Here are a few safety tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology that should help keep you from burning out your retinas while trying to catch a glimpse of a tiny Venus traversing the Sun:

    •    Watch the transit at a planetarium or program by a university astronomy department. Because Venus will look quite tiny against the sun's vast surface, it will be best to watch this amazing event via professional projection on a large screen.
    •    Visit NASA's website for a live-streaming broadcast and enjoy a live chat with scientists, if you like.
    •    Make a simple "pinhole camera" using two sheets of paper: make a pinhole in the center of one sheet; then stand with your back to the sun, holding that sheet so that the sun shines through the pinhole onto the second piece of paper. You'll see an image of the transit of Venus projected on the second sheet.

Are you an astronomy expert or a professional planetary amateur? Will you try to watch the transit of Venus? We'd love to hear your thoughts.


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