Get flash to fully experience Pearltrees
Something strange and wonderful happens when we look into the night sky. Most of us feel tiny, yet surprisingly powerful; vulnerable, yet inspired. In a word: Awestruck.
View Sky Calendar for: Current Month View Sky Calendar for Year: | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | Eclipses of the Sun Solar Eclipse - main directory for NASA's Solar Eclipse Page (some popular links below) Annular Solar Eclipse of 2012 May 20
For nearly all of human history, there was only one way to observe a cosmic event: with your eyes. This was a bad thing if the event occurred on a cloudy day, and an even worse thing if it wasn’t cloudy but the event was a solar eclipse, which could wind up being, well, the last thing you’d ever see. A lot has changed, and that fact was spectacularly in evidence this week, as Venus made one of its very rare transits of the sun—an event that won’t come again for 105 years. All over the world, skywatchers had telescopes and cameras pointed sunward as the black speck of Venus glided slowly across the solar disk. But 22,000 mi. (36,000 km) above the Earth, another set of eyes was watching the event.
Many people are planning to watch the transit of Venus on Tuesday (June 5), but it's extremely important that prospective viewers be warned to take special precautions (as with a solar eclipse) to view the silhouette of Venus against the brilliant disk of the sun. For the United States and Canada the transit will begin when the dark disk of Venus first touches the outer edge of the sun, an event that astronomers call Contact I. From the Eastern U.S. and Eastern Canada, Contact I should occur around 6:03 p.m. EDT (2203 GMT). From the Western U.S. and Western Canada, Contact I should occur around 3:06 p.m.
On June 5, Venus will cross the face of the sun. If you live in North America, Europe, Asia or eastern Africa, you'll be able to witness this historic celestial event, which won't happen again for more than a century. But considering how dangerous it is to look at the sun directly, how can you view the so-called "transit of Venus" without having to go out and buy any fancy equipment or filters?