Live! Venus’ transit on the Web

On June 8, sky watchers who are in the right place at the right time will witness an event that hasn’t happened since 1882: Venus will drift across the face of the sun, appearing as a black dot against the solar surface (SN: 4/17/04, p. 247: Available to subscribers at Shades of Venus). In the United States, only people on the eastern seaboard have a chance of seeing this transit of Venus, and they’ll see only the last 90 minutes of the roughly 6-hour event. However, Venus-struck observers will be broadcasting the transit live over the Internet from Europe, which should have a ringside seat for the entire passage.

FOCUS ON VENUS. Radar image of the surface of Venus. JPL, NASA

The Norwegian Astronomical Association will Webcast the event from several locations in Norway at The Webcast will start at 12 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) June 8, about a half hour before the passage begins, and end at 7 a.m. EDT, about a half an hour after it’s over.

In a separate Webcast (, an astrophysicist with the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco will transmit images from the event as seen from Greece beginning at 1 a.m. EDT on June 8 and finishing 6 hours later.

It’s unsafe to view the transit by staring at the sun. Just as during a solar eclipse, viewing must be done indirectly, for example, by allowing sunlight to shine through a pinhole and project onto a piece of paper. The next Venusian transit, and the only other one that will take place this century, will occur in 2012.

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