2012 is a big year for solar events, first we had the “ring of fire” solar eclipse and now skywatchers will soon be able to see the Venus transit of the sun when it arrives in June.
The Venus viewing event will occur on June 5 (June 6 is much of the Eastern Hemisphere) and will involve Venus crossing the sun’s face from the perspective of Earth, appearing as a silhouette of a slow-moving black dot as it passes by.
The impressive event will be seen from all seven continents and the event won’t happen again for another 105 years.
NASA’s Dean Pesnell tells SPACE.com:
“I think this is the last one I’ll see.”
Venus transits happen in pairs every eight years however the dual events like the one on June 5 happen less than once ever 100 years. The last transit happened in 2004 with the next Venus transit expected in 2117.
While the Venus transit will be watchable from all seven continents skywatchers will have to do some major traveling as the seven-hour transit will only be widely visible from eastern Asia, eastern Australia, New Zealand and the western Pacific, Alaska, northern Canada and most of Greenland.
WARNING: Do not look directly at the sun with your naked eyes, binoculars or cameras. Proper filters for telescopes, binoculars and other viewing devices should be used to avoid damage to your eyes. You can also use No. 14 welder’s glass to cover your eyes.
Fox News suggests the following viewing option:
“Observe the transit indirectly using the solar projection method. Use your telescope or one side of your binoculars to project a magnified image of the sun’s disk onto a shaded white piece of cardboard.”