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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

Venus Transit Day: Don't Miss this Twice-in-a-Lifetime Experience

from the Chicago Tribune (Registration Required)

Tuesday is Venus transit day--that hole-in-the-sun journey taken by our neighboring planet--and unlike the last time this occurred, the event will be visible to all of North America. Not that you should look at it. As NASA notes, Venus is too minuscule to block the blinding glare of the sun. You need a filter. NASA suggests No. 14 welder's glasses.

You might be better off contacting a local astronomy club, which probably will have solar telescopes for observing the transit. In Los Angeles, the Griffith Observatory will have telescopes set up on the lawn for free viewing, as the [Los Angeles] Times reported Thursday.

But however you safely do it, get a glimpse if you can. NASA helpfully notes that the next time it occurs, we will all be dead. Thanks for that, NASA. Truly, these transits are a twice-in-a-lifetime experience. They come in pairs a few years apart. The first in this pair was in 2004. The next transit is December 2117.

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