Transit of Venus

All winter and most of the spring, Venus has been dazzling us as the “evening star.” Tomorrow afternoon (June 5), Venus will put on a different kind of show. Starting at about 5:00 pm Central Daylight time, Venus will pass in front of the sun. In Chicago, the sun will set before Venus completely crosses the disc of the sun. This event, a transit of Venus, is extremely rare: transits occur in pairs eight years apart, but each pair takes place over 100 years after the previous pair. A transit occurred in 2004, and the next one (after tomorrow) will take place in December 2117. So if you don’t get a chance to see it tomorrow, you won’t live to see the next one!

Transit of Venus, 2004 (photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Venus will appear to be a black dot moving across the face of the sun, so to see it, you will need equipment that is designed to view the sun (such as eclipse glasses). In Chicago, the Adler Planetarium is hosting an event. The website transitofvenus.org also gives helpful information. Good luck!

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