If you can’t make it to Hawaii or the Exploration Center at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field in California to observe the broadcast live beginning at 3:04 p.m. PDT Tuesday, don’t worry.
You can watch the Live NASA EDGE broadcast from Mauna Kea, HI here.
The June 5th transit will be the final opportunity to witness the rare astronomical reunion until 2117.
occurs when Venus passes directly between Earth and the sun. Viewers will see Venus as a small dot drifting across the golden disk of the sun. There have been 53 transits since 2000 B.C. The rare event occurs in pairs, with the last transit occurring June 8, 2004.
Jeremiah Horrocks, a young English astronomer, recorded the first observation of a transit in 1639. In 1769, survey crews, including Captain James Cook, gathered transit data from various locations around the world that were used to calculate the distance between Earth and the sun and the size of the solar system.
Today, transit events are used to detect planets beyond the solar system. NASA's Kepler space telescope measures the change in brightness from distant stars when a planet passes in front of the star. Kepler has confirmed 61 planets and more than 2,300 planet candidates using the transit technique.
You probably know that today, June 5, a rare astronomical event, the transit of Venus, will occur when the planet Venus will be visible as it moves across the face of the sun and partially blocks its light from reaching Earth.
But as with the recent solar eclipse, it's crucial that you choose a safe way to view the transit. Looking directly at it would damage your eye's retina, the light-sensitive area at the back of the eye that provides central vision.
Safe options include:
- Watch the transit at a planetarium or program by a university astronomy department. Because Venus will look quite tiny against the sun's vast surface, it will be best to watch this amazing event via professional projection on a large screen.
- Visit NASA's website for a live-streaming broadcast and enjoy a live chat with scientists, if you like.
- Make a simple "pinhole camera" using two sheets of paper: make a pinhole in the center of one sheet; then stand with your back to the sun, holding that sheet so that the sun shines through the pinhole onto the second piece of paper. You'll see an image of the transit of Venus projected on the second sheet.
The following devices will not protect your eyes: sunglasses, binoculars with filters, neutral density filters, or exposed photographic or radiographic film.
This is the last chance for anyone alive today to see the transit of Venus, since it won't happen again until 2117. The complete transit will take about six and a half hours.
Follow the event on Twitter on #VenusTransit and download a free mobile app here.
NASA's Ames Research Center manages Kepler's ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. JPL managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA's 10th Discovery Mission and is funded by NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington.
For information about the Kepler Mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kepler