Transit of Venus Tomorrow

On Tuesday, June 5 for those of us in the US and on Wednesday, June 6 for those who live in Russia and other parts east, we will have one chance to see Venus as it passes in front of the Sun. Unless we live until December 2117 (probably not going to happen…), we won’t have another shot at it. For a couple hours of viewing time, we can watch as Venus crosses between us and the Sun.

It’s a very small window of time to see it (check out the link below to see the time for you–for those of us on the east coast it begins around 6 pm), but be sure you have viewing glasses, or use one of the other methods listed in the article to safely view the transit.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/Transit-of-Venus-February-2012-134332798.html

While I know that this may seem relatively insignificant, what is really neat about this experience is the chance to see another planet in the daytime as it travels the solar system with us. How many times can we look up and watch another world as it makes its way around the Sun? In our busy, jaded society, people make comments about rocket launches being boring, about cutting edge medical treatments that are inconvenient, and about temperamental technology when it wasn’t even in existence 20 years ago. Here’s another chance to see something people couldn’t even begin to think about only a couple of centuries ago, and it’s only happened a handful of times since then. To me, the scope of our short time on this planet as human beings compared to the vastness of our universe is staggering…and we get to watch a sliver of it tomorrow. To me, that’s exciting.

Enjoy the view (and pray for a break in the clouds!).

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~ by alanotte on June 4, 2012.

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