First the ring-of-fire eclipse. Now the transit of Venus. The solar system is definitely pulling out all the stops for 2012!
The transit of Venus – when the planet crosses between Earth and the sun – is so rare that it's only been observed six times since the invention of the telescope 400 years ago.
It all happens Tuesday (Wednesday in the Eastern Hemisphere). Find out if and when you can see it where you live.
Looking directly at the sun for any period of time damages your eyes. But viewing through a projector is safe and easy:
- Find two sheets of white paper
- Poke a pin-hole into one of the them – this is your projector
- Find a sunny spot to place the other – this is your screen
- Hold the projector sheet so it casts a shadow onto your improvised screen
Voila! An image of the Sun is projected through the pinhole onto your screen. Look closely and you should be able to see a small dot migrate slowly across the sun over the course of 6 astronomical hours.
More information: Find detailed viewing tips, trivia, history, events, videos and more at Nasa.