View Venus

Yale and Wesleyan help people see Transit of Venus

By Scott Beaulieu
|  Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012  |  Updated 4:03 PM EDT
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View Venus

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LONDON - JUNE 8: A combination picture shows the planet Venus as it transits across the face of the sun as seen from the Greenwich Observatory on June 8, 2004 in London. The rare astronomical event last occurred in 1882, while the next transit is due in 2012. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

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Keep your eyes to the sky tonight for a little astronomy lesson.  The rare "Transit of Venus" is happening tonight. 

The celestial event happens when Venus passes between the sun and the earth.  

If you're on the fence about going, here's some motivation.  The next "Transit of Venus" isn't until 2117.  That's 105 years from now.

The "Transit of Venus" begins precisely at 6:07 pm, but don't think you can just head outside and look up.

Like a solar eclipse, the event can cause permanent damage if you view it with the naked eye. But fear not, there is a way you can see Venus without some sort of homemade contraption.

Yale University's Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium is opening its doors for public viewing, as is the Vleck Observatory at Wesleyan University

You can head to the Yale planetarium starting at 4 pm, to get a bird's eye view of the "Transit of Venus."  They'll even give you special "eclipse sunglasses" so you won't hurt your eyes. 

If it's too cloudy to see from our skies, the planetarium will also have a live feed from NASA set up. 

The event lasts from 6:07 p. m. through about 7:30 p.m. 

The viewing at Wesleyan starts at 5:30 p.m.

If the weather is clear, Wesleyan will set up telescopes for safe viewing of the transit.  If it’s cloudy, they will project a live feed of the transit on the screen in the observatory classroom.

You can also watch a live Webcast from NASA.

UConn will not hold a viewing, because of rain, but is holding a discussion in PB38, on the ground floor of the physics building, and simulcasting NASA's feed.

"Since the forecast is for rain, we're moving to plan B and postponing the transit observing until Dec. 11, 2117,the next time this even will occur," UConn's physics department posted on its Web site.
 

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