WESTERN KY (5/28/12) – Prepare yourself for a celestial show that only occurs twice every century.
On June 5th, the heavens will be putting on a 7-hour performance in which Venus will trek its way across the face of the sun. Venus is one of only two planets between the Earth and our sun, against which it will appear as a dark black silhouette.
This will be the last chance to watch this rare event until 2117. Venus’s orbit is slightly peculiar; its solar transits come in pairs, spaced eight years apart, with over 100 years between them.
In the past, this unusual configuration was how humans measured the solar system’s magnitude. This year will be no different. There is a free Transit of Venus phone app that allows the public to detail their observations regarding the 2012 transit of Venus for a global experiment to measure the size of our solar system. All are invited to join this unique endeavor which is spearheaded by Astronomers Without Borders (AWB), a non-profit organization that promotes sharing the sky and fostering the understanding of astronomy.
To properly and safely observe the transit of Venus, your eyes must be protected. Some forms of eye protection include solar shades, solar telescope filters, and compact solar viewing devices, which project the sun’s image onto a white surface for protected viewing.
If you are interested in participating in the AWB global experiment to measure the size of our solar system you can obtain more information by clicking here.
Partial information obtained from ScienceNews.org
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