Our new contributor Laith sent in the following blog post!
Tuesday June 5th 2012 hosts an event that will not be seen again until December of 2117. In the evening of the 5th (US time) the planet Venus will be visible as it crosses the disk of the Sun.
Starting at 6:09 p.m. EDT, Venus will spend the next seven hours traveling between Earth and the Sun.
Obviously this event is a once in a lifetime experience, however just like with an eclipse you need to take special care when viewing the Sun.
For your average family, who don’t have a telescope with the right sun viewing filters, the best way to view the event will be with a pinhole camera setup, Space.com has a good video on how to make one (http://www.space.com/15737-safely-sun-build-shoebox-pinhole-camera-video.html), you can find tons of good information about the event on their Transit of Venus FAQs page (http://www.space.com/15978-venus-transit-faq.html)
If you happen to have a normal telescope or a pair of binoculars you can also see a magnified view by using a projection technique (http://casa.colorado.edu/~dduncan/wp/?page_id=261 and http://www.exploratorium.edu/transit/how.html) but remember DON’T LOOK THROUGH THE LENS!
For those who don’t have the time, or bad weather there are several webcasts being done to highlight the event, NASA has one from the top of Mauna Kea, Hawaii starting about 15 minutes before the transit, (http://sunearthday.gsfc.nasa.gov/webcasts/nasaedge/) and they also provide a list of other online viewings (http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2012/transit/webcast.php)
If you search around there are a number of science and astronomy podcasts that are talking about the event and many science blogs doing so as well. I also have a link to a NASA Science video about the transit posted over on my blog.
I hope that you will enjoy this experience with your kids as much as I plan to.