Venus passes in between the Earth and the sun twice every 120 years.Last time was in 2004, and tonight it will happen again starting sometime around 6pm EST. Next time will be in 2117.
So you should go see it.
But don’t go see it with your bare eyes, unless you want to never use them again.
Here are a few apps and sites with which you can observe the twice-in-a-lifetime event:
- The Transit of Venus (free) app. It’s by an organisation called Astronomers without Borders. It uses your GPS location to tell you exactly when Venus will begin and end its transit. Here it is for iPhone, and there it is for Android.
- The same organisation also has a web app with the same information and more.
- NASA will stream the transit live from its EDGE observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
- A multi-continent webcast will come courtesy of the Coca-Cola Space Science centre, which will take feeds from the Gobi Desert, the Australian outback, Georgia, and Utah.
- Or, you could do it the old fashion way with a pair of solar viewing glasses. Here’s a good guide on where to find them.
In the meantime, check out NASA’s awesome footage of Venus’s 2004 transit courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight centre on Flickr: