22 May 2012

Another Big Sky Show on June 5

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Image from NASA.

About every 105 years Venus makes two passes in front of the sun as viewed from Earth. These passes are separated by about 8 years, and the first of this centuries pass was in 2004. Early June will bring the next pass, and we will have to wait for over a century to see it again. So, it’s not something you want to miss of you can avoid it!

The NASA graphic above shows that most of the world will se at least a part of it ,with parts of Africa and South America seeing none of it. I hate to jump on the band-wagon of those screaming to not look at it directly, but please don’t. It might be the last thing you ever see, although most medical literature seems to indicate that few people have had serious eye damage  from a short (2 second) squint. It’s much better to get special eclipse glasses or shade 14 welding glass. Better yet, shine the sun through some binoculars and project it onto a sheet. (Do not look at the sun through binoculars or you really will fry your eye –permanently.

It begins at 6: 09 PM EDT on June 5th. Times and other info from NASA are here.