No, the transit of Venus is not a love story about a gorgeous, goddess-like woman being discovered by Hollywood while riding a public bus. Rather, the transit of Venus is a rare astronomical phenomenon that will be occur this week. A real once in a lifetime event, so to speak, for us mere mortals.
Here’s the scoop:
Facts about the transit of Venus
- According to NASA, Venus will cross in front of the sun at approximately 6:09 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 5, 2012.
- The event will last for seven hours.
- Transits of Venus first gained worldwide attention in the 18th century.
- The celestial event has been witnessed only seven times since the time of Galileo.
- This may be the last Venus transit of our lifetime; the next transit won’t take place until 105 years from now, in the year 2117.
How to view the transit of Venus
- Weather will determine if the transit will be visible to the naked eye. The current weather prediction from NOAA for our area is cloudy with a chance of showers.
- Viewers will be able to see Venus as a black dot moving across the sun.
- Do not stare at the sun. Venus will cover too little of the sun to block its blinding glare.
- The safest way to view the transition is indirectly, using a pinhole projector.
Where to view the Goddess planet in transit across the sky
- Find a safe spot with a clear view of the night sky.
- Scheduled transit events in Connecticut will take place from about 5:30 p.m. until sunset at about 8:22 p.m at the following locations:
- The Discovery Museum, 4450 Park Ave., Bridgeport 203-372-3521
- Rolnick Observatory, 182 Bayberry Lane, Westport 203-293-8759
- Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium, 355 Prospect St., New Haven 203-285-8840
- Connecticut Museum of Natural History, University of Connecticut, Storrs 860-486-4460
- Danbury White Memorial Conservation Center, 80 Whitehall Road, Litchfield
- Online: From the cushions of your most comfortable couch, you can watch the transit of Venus on NASA's website. You could even enjoy it with a soda and popcorn or a glass of wine.
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How to photograph this once in a lifetime event
- The requirements for photographing this once in a lifetime event are the same as those for sunspots or a partial solar eclipse.
- Protect your eyes and equipment by using a proper filter to cut down the sun’s intense brightness.
- Use a telescope or telephoto lens.
- Shoot at high resolution.
- Focus, focus, focus. Don’t use the camera’s auto-focus function; switch to manual (M) mode and use the edge of the sun or nearby sunspots for focusing purposes.
- Don't forget spare batteries and memory cards. You wouldn't want to run out of batteries or memory at a time like this!
Resources for more information on the 2012 transit of Venus
- Discovery News, How to Photograph the transit of Venus Safely
- Ct Post, A rare chance to witness transit of Venus
- NASA, Transit of Venus
- Huffington Post, Transit of Venus With 'The Bad Astronomer' Phil Plait
Know of a great local spot or any local get togethers to view the transit of Venus? Add it in the comments below.