How to watch the transit of Venus without blinding yourself (+video)
The transit of Venus across the solar disk won't make it okay to stare into the sun. Here's how to watch this rare astronomical event safely.
(Page 3 of 3)
Lastly, never look at the sun directly through your telescope, even through your finder scope. It is strongly advisable to cover the finder before the transit, so as to avoid looking through it accidentally.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Venus
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Somebody recently asked me if they could look at the sun through their telescope while wearing a pair of "eclipse glasses" – special filters mounted on cardboard eyeglass frames. The answer is absolutely not! Such a filter is for naked-eye use only! If you try looking through the eyepiece of binoculars or a telescope while wearing these glasses, the concentrated heat from the sun will almost certainly melt a hole through the filtering material, allowing a sudden burst of dazzling sunlight to reach your eye.
Should poor weather hinder or completely obscure your view of the Venus transit, the next opportunity will not come until Dec. 10, 2117. Unfortunately, most who are now reading these words are not likely to be around when that date finally comes around. [Last Venus Transit In Your Lifetime (Video Show)]
Furthermore, much of North America will miss out on the 2117 event, as the transit will not begin until the sun has set. Only observers in the far west will be able to see the very beginning of Venus’s march across the sun before sunset.
The Venus transit of Dec. 8, 2125, however, will be kinder to North America. Venus will begin its passage across the sun soon after sunrise for the East Coast. For the rest of the continent, Venus will already be on the sun as it rises. The final two or three hours of the transit will be visible from the west coasts of Canada and the U.S.
Editor's note: If you snap a great photo of the Venus transit and would like to share it with SPACE.com for a story or gallery, please send images and comments to SPACE.com managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York.
- Transit of Venus 2012: An Observer's Guide (Gallery)
- The Transit of Venus: Complete Coverage
- Best Telescopes for Beginners | Telescope Reviews & Buying Guide
Copyright 2012 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.