Arlington, VA

A rare solar event is taking place on Tuesday, June 5. The Transit of Venus will be visible throughout Arlington around the time of the evening rush hour tomorrow.

During the event, Venus passes between Earth and the sun, making the planet look like a dark dot on the sun. It’s one of the rarest predictable astronomical phenomena. The passing should last for about six hours, but will be visible at different times around the world. According to the Transit of Venus website, Arlington residents should be able to see the transit starting at 6:04 p.m.

Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium will hold a viewing at the top of the Kettler Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Road, #800), starting at 5:45 p.m. Displays, telescopes and safety glasses for viewing the transit will be available at the free event.

The National Science Foundation is also sponsoring a free Transit of Venus event. A lecture by Dr. Larry Marschall, Professor of Physics at Gettysburg College, will take place from 4:00-5:00 p.m. in the National Science Foundation (4201 Wilson Blvd) atrium. He will use pictures, movies and stories to describe the significance of the event. There will also be a telescope set up outside the north entrance to observe the transit, around 6:15 p.m.

If you want to watch the transit but can’t make it to one of the viewing events, be sure to take measures to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. The Transit of Venus website lists some safe ways to view the passing, and specifically says looking at the sun through common sunglasses is not safe enough. Slooh, an online space camera, will also provide a live feed of the event that is safe to watch, starting at 6:00 p.m.

This will likely be your only chance to see the Transit of Venus, because the next one doesn’t happen until December 2117. The last one occurred on June 8, 2004. The events take place in a paired pattern, with transits eight years apart, then more than 100 years apart.

Photo via Wikipedia

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