Tuesday, skywatchers across much of the world will be able to see Venus crossing in front of the sun in a rare event that will not be repeated until 2117.
Unlike a solar eclipse, the planet's June 5 passing will only block out a tiny portion of the big star, appearing as a small beauty mark on the sun's face.
At least part of the Venus transit will be visible from most of Earth, expect for a large chunk of South America and the western part of Africa.
Hawaii is considered one of the prime viewing spots for the full transit, which will last more than six hours.
Here in Florida, the transit will be visible just before sunset, starting just after 5 p.m. It will continue until almost midnight, but of course the sun won't be visible after sunset at 7:22 p.m.
The spectacle must be viewed with special glasses or a solar-filtered telescope to avoid eye damage. For those not equipped, several organizations, including NASA, are planning to broadcast the spectacle from various observatories and telescopes.
Venus transits come in pairs, separated by about 100 years. The last one occurred in 2004. Before that, the last pair of transits occurred in 1874 and 1882 and the next pair will be in 2117 and 2125.
The first known observation of the rare alignment -- when Venus passes directly between Earth and the sun -- was in 1639 by an amateur British astronomer named Jeremiah Horrocks.
SOURCE LINK: http://sunearthday.gsfc.nasa.gov/webcasts/nasaedge/
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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