By Nick Gallinelli
A few organizations are providing spots to safely view tonight’s transit of Venus
Unless you’re going to live for another 105 years (and if you are you probably can’t read this) tonight is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Venus cross the earth’s view of the sun.
Tonight, a “transit of Venus” will occur in the Western Hemisphere around 6 p.m., and will look like a mere pimple on the sun’s blotchy face. Doing the same thing as the Moon does during a solar eclipse, Venus will cross the Earth’s line of vision to the sun, but will not appear as large. Venus is actually about three times as large as the Moon, but, being much farther from the Earth, will appear smaller and to move slower across the Earth’s surface.
Looking at the sun, though, will obviously cause a bit of a problem for those of us without NASA-like telescopes or the temerity of Galileo.
Fortunately, there are a few places here in the city to help (safely) view the only transit of Venus until 2117:
- The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will be the host at two city sites—Riverside Park South and the High Line near 14th street and 10th Avenue. According to the AAA website, they’ll be providing telescopes suited for such an event, pinhole cameras (they actually remember how to make them), and projection equipment. After the transit, viewers can use the equipment to see other planets throughout the night. Price: Free.
- The Intrepid Museum, according to their site, will be providing solar telescopes on their Pier 86 within the museum. Price: $5, free for museum members.
- According to their site, Columbia Astronomy Outreach will also be providing a safe viewing experience in Harlem at 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, and downtown in Union Square. Price: Free.
- Finally, if the wide reaches of space are not interesting enough to merit rousing yourself, NASA will be broadcasting the event live through an internet stream at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html
Always remember, looks can kill. Don’t let Venus’s beauty blind you.
Tags: aaa, amateur astronomers association of new york, columbia astronomy outreach, Earth, galileo, intrepid museum, nasa, nasa.gov, New York City, pinhole camera, projection equipment, solar telescope, sun, transit of venus, venus, western hemisphere
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