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Must See: This Cosmic Event Won't Happen Again Until 2117


"There's something very humbling out of this experience."

This image was from a similar event occurring in 2004. (Photo via io9)

HONOLULU (The Blaze/AP) -- Unless you intend on living another 105 years, tonight and tomorrow provide your last chance to see one rarest cosmic spectacles. Those in the Western Hemisphere on Tuesday will be able to watch Venus slowly crossing the face of the sun, while those in Eastern Hemisphere can view it on Wednesday. The next time this event will occur is in 2117.

The nearly 7-hour show can be seen in its entirety from the western Pacific, eastern Asia and eastern Australia. Other parts of the globe will catch portions of the transit.

Here's a sampling of local viewing times: 12:10 p.m. Honolulu; 3:06 p.m. Los Angeles; 5:06 p.m. Mexico City; 6:04 p.m. New York -- all on Tuesday -- and 5:37 a.m. London; 6:10 a.m. Beijing; 6:12 a.m. Hong Kong; 6:38 a.m. Cairo; 7:10 a.m. Tokyo; 8:16 a.m. Sydney; 10:15 a.m. Auckland on Wednesday.

As in a solar eclipse, do not look directly at the sun. There are ways to watch the Venus transit without blinding yourself. See tips for how to view the sun during cosmic events such as these here.

Space.com and Life's Little Mysteries helps you make your own "sun safe projector" for viewing this event in this video:

io9 has more on how the transit will take place:

The transit of Venus is a long-drawn affair; it takes almost twenty minutes for the planet to even creep entirely into view along the Sun's outer edge.

When it finally does appear, Venus will be visible in the form of a black disc, about 1/32 the diameter of the Sun. That's large enough for you to forego the use of binoculars or a telescope (with proper eye protection, of course — more on that below), but if you live in the Western Hemisphere, and you do have access to a properly outfitted telescope, these first twenty minutes are your chance to spot a phenomenon known as "the black drop effect," whereby Venus appears to make its entrance onto the solar disc in the shape of a teardrop. (The image featured here shows the teardrop effect as photographed during 2004's transit).

Skygazers in the green-labeled region of the Eastern Hemisphere will be able to catch a glimpse of the teardrop effect as Venus exits the solar disc. Those living in the white regions of the map featured above will be able to witness both black drop events.

To celebrate the last transit in a century, museums, observatories and astronomy clubs are setting up telescopes with special filters for the public. Many will also feature special programs including lectures.

Sky.com shares the thoughts of some experts awaiting the event:

"The Venus transit really brings home to us, in a unique way, how ordinary our Sun is. It's just another star," said scientist and author Mark Anderson.

"There's something very humbling out of this experience. We are another planet in orbit around another star in another galaxy in another corner of the universe. It really brings it home to us," Mr Anderson said.


"I've been planning this for a while," space station flight engineer Don Pettit said in a Nasa interview.

"I knew the transit of Venus would occur during my rotation, so I brought a solar filter with me."

If clouds spoil your view or if you're shut out, there's always the Internet. NASA plans a live webcast from Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Space.com will also be hosting a live webcast of the transit here.

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