How to watch the transit of Venus online (+video)
Don't have the necessary solar filters to watch the transit of Venus? Instead of staring directly at the sun, try watching it on the Web.
Much of the world will be able to witness a rare skywatching event on June 5, as Venus crosses the face of the sun in a spectacle that will not be visible again for more than a century. But for anyone who is not able to see the so-called transit of Venus in person, there are other ways to catch the historic event online.Skip to next paragraph
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While observers in many parts of the world — including North America, Europe, Asia and eastern Africa — will be well-placed to see at least part of the transit in person, several organizations are planning to broadcast live views using footage from various observatories and telescopes around the globe.
The reason for the wide interest in the Venus transit is clear: This is the last time anyone alive today will have a chance to see Venus cross the face of the sun. The next transit of Venus won't occur until the year 2117. Venus transits occur in pairs eight years apart. The last one occurred in 2004, making the 2012 transit the last in the current series.
Viewers who decide to tune into a webcast will be able to watch the entire transit unfold, as Venus appears to touch the outer edge of the sun, then travels onto the face, before crossing the inside edge and continuing along its orbit.
NASA will be hosting a Sun-Earth Day webcast on June 5 that will last the entire length of the Venus transit. The footage will stream live from the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, with accompanying commentary from various experts. Times are subject to change, but the webcast is currently scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. EDT (2145 GMT). [Transit of Venus 2012: An Observer's Guide]
People can tune in to NASA's Venus transit broadcast by visiting the agency's Sun-Earth Day website:http://sunearthday.gsfc.nasa.gov/webcasts/nasaedge/
The Slooh Space Camera will stream ten real-time feeds of the transit from solar telescopes in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Hawaii, Norway, Arizona and New Mexico. The webcast, which begins on June 5 at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT), will track Venus' entire journey across the sun.
The show will also feature commentary from astronomers, filmmakers, science writers, engineers and solar experts.
"A few odd phenomena happen during Venus transits, like the 'black drop' that seems to connect the planet with the space outside the sun, which will be highlighted and discussed by our experts as it happens," said astronomer Bob Berman, who will be one of the guests during Slooh's webcast.