MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) – In a few days you'll be able to see the planet Venus in its rare trek across the sun.
It's called the transit of Venus and you'll be able to see it starting around 5 p.m. CT on Tuesday, June 5. The transit, which occurs in 8-year pairs, last happened in June 2004. By the next time it happens again, you and I will be long gone.
It's a twice in a lifetime event. Dr. David Rupke is one of many space watchers gearing up for it.
“If you're able to see the magnified view of this, you'll see a small dot moving across the disc of the sun,” he explained.
While you will be able to see the transit of Venus with your naked eye, it's not best to do so.
“Well if you stare at the sun for too long you could permanently damage your eyes,” Rupke said.
Eclipse or solar shades will allow you to view the Venus transit. Your best bet is to use a set of binoculars or a telescope, just be sure you have a solar filter to keep the sun's rays from cooking your retinas.
“Another option is to construct a simple pinhole camera where you can project the image of the sun onto a sheet of paper,” Rupke said.
The transit of Venus will give astronomers an idea of what the transit of another planet might look like, as well as a glimpse into Venus' atmosphere.
But save that stuff for scientists. You want in on nature's theater.
“It's a great event in that you can observe this planet with your naked eye moving in front of the sun, it's going to be a really beautiful sight I think,” Rupke said.
So if any of this sounds intriguing, be sure not to miss it.
“The next Venus transit is 2117, so this is your last chance or anyone's last chance to observe it,” Rupke said.
Rhodes College will open its observatory from 5:30 p.m. until sunset so you can see the transit of Venus. The Sharpe Planetarium at the Pink Palace will also host a free gathering from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the mansion lawn.