Listen this will not happen again for another 105 years!
The transit of Venus is when we are able see Venus passing in front of the Sun WITHOUT a telescope. This will not happen again until December 11th, 2117. The Southern Hemisphere, especially Hawaii and Australia, will have the best view.
Fortunately, the Southwestern United States has a chance to see this once-in-a-lifetime event also. The Transit of Venus will be visible in Arizona about a minute before it is visible in Los Angeles.
In Hemet we should watch for it at 3:05pm, 3:33pm and 6:34pm. Now when I say watch. I mean live online, unless you have sun-watching protective eye wear. I visited my optometrist yesterday and he gave me enough filters for my whole family to watch the event together! Nice guy. This was after I lamented over not buying the special sun-watching glasses at the Griffith Observatory last time I was in LA.
He also said that in his 22 years of optometry, he has had 200 cases of blindness! Some were from sun watching, most were wielders that did not wear proper eye protection! Please don’t take any stupid risks.
Where to Watch Online
“Astronaut Don Pettit onboard the International Space Station (ISS) discusses the scientific and historical aspects of the June 5, 2012 Transit of Venus across the Sun and his plans for photographing the event through some of the optical quality windows onboard the ISS…
This page shows the latest 20 photos from the International Space Station’s Flickr feed. During the event new images will be uploaded of the transit about every 30 minutes.” http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/webcasts/iss
This is from Astronomers Without Borders: “Mercury and Venus are the only planets closer to the Sun than Earth, both moving faster in their orbits and passing us regularly. But rather than crossing directly between us and the Sun, these planets are usually slightly above or below the Sun as we see them. When they line up just right we see the round, black silhouette of the planet slowly crossing the Sun, an even referred to as a “transit.” Mercury transits the Sun 13 or 14 times each century. But Venus transits happen in pairs – two transits eight years apart – with more than 100 years between each pair.” http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/index.php/projects/transit-of-venus.html
A Predawn Lunar Eclipse, a Transit of Venus, and Other Sky Phenomena in June 2012 and Beyond
“at 3:06 p.m. PDT along the U.S. West Coast. The event opens with a ~ 17.6-minute ingress until about 3:23 p.m., as Venus’ disk, 1/32 of the Sun’s apparent diameter, slides onto the solar limb. Venus takes about 6 hours to reach the opposite limb, so for most of North America the transit is still in progress at sunset. ”
Transit of Venus on June 5 Is Last for 105 Years: How to Watch by Geoff Gaherty, Starry Night Education [30 May 2012]
How to Measure the Sun’s Distance from Earth
Fortunately, my son and I have already watched zillions of videos from the library ranging from documentaries to dramas about our universe and the astronauts that who have been there.
I recommend all the Bill Nye the Science Guy episodes on astronomy. They are quick, entertaining, and packed with information.
* * *
If your looking for an optometrist, I highly recommend:
Dr. Steven Simpson, OD
41705 E. Florida Ave., Hemet, CA 92544
(951) 652-2020 , http://www.hemetoptometric.com
I was at my regular eye appointment on Monday. I lamented about not buying sun-watching glasses at the observatory when I had a chance back in December. They cost about $3.
Right in the middle of our eye appointment, he gathers up a stack of filters and went outside to stare at the sun! The filters are normally used by patients with ultra sensitive eyes. About 1 minute later, he comes back inside and gave them to me the filters. He said 6-8 filters would be safe enough for me to stare at the sun!
Tuesday: I started looking at the Sun (not continuously) from 3:08pm-3:25pm. I was in my backyard and there were no clouds. I wear prescription sunglasses so 8 filters was a totally block out. Six filters is was okay. Five filters was best. So far I have NOT been able to see Venus.
4:45pm at Carl’s Jr, Valle Vista – After picking my husband up from work, we went to Carl’s Jr. I saw a speck in the 2pm position on the Sun.
5:50pm at Valle Vista Library – The head librarian, Carol, and her staff Sonya, and Deanna also saw Venus at the 2pm position of the Sun.
We had watched all Bill the Nye the Science Guy episodes on astronomy so we knew what to do.
For future reference, make sure to buy the sun watching glasses when your at an observatory. They are about $3. Then you are all set. Or try to buy filters at cost from your optometrist. I like that I could adjust the filter thickness. Sometimes I could see with 6 filters, but mostly needed 4 or 5.
* * *
The sky is the ultimate art gallery just above us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson