It won't happen again until December 2117. On June 5th, 2012, Venus will transit the face of the sun in an event of both historical and observational importance. The best places to watch are in the south Pacific, but travel is not required. The event will also be visible around sunset from the USA.
Do not stare at the sun.
Venus covers too little of the solar disk to block the blinding glare. Use some type of projection technique or a solar filter. A #14 welder's glass is a good choice. Binoculars and camera lenses must also be shielded to prevent magnification of damaging light.
Join The Conversation
This will be the most social transit in history.
Tag #venustransit on Twitter.
Follow @astro_pettit, the first human to photograph a transit from space.
Watch With Others
Night Sky Network: Find A Local Club
Look for a local event Sun-Earth Day Event Locations Page.
We'll collect favorite images of the transit on our Great Shots Venus Transit Gallery
Only six Venus transits have occurred since the invention of the telescope and no one saw the first one in 1631.
Read About It
Transits of Venus are very rare, coming in pairs separated by more than a hundred years. This June's transit, the bookend of a 2004-2012 pair, won't be repeated until the year 2117. Fortunately, the event is widely visible. Observers on seven continents, even a sliver of Antarctica, will be in position to see it.
The nearly 7-hour transit begins at 3:09 pm Pacific Daylight Time (22:09 UT) on June 5th. The timing favors observers in the mid-Pacific where the sun is high overhead during the crossing. In the USA, the transit will be at its best around sunset. That's good, too. Creative photographers will have a field day imaging the swollen red sun "punctured" by the circular disk of Venus.
Many astronomy clubs will have solar telescopes set up to observe the event; contact your local club for details.
The Full Story
What's Up: Special Transit Edition
Planetarium-Quality Transit Video Files
The following files are available to planetariums and digital theaters to download supporting the upcoming Planetarium film about the 2012 Transit of Venus.
Preview the trailer below. For more information about "Transit of Venus," please visit the official website and read more..
Video files are no longer available
NASA Solar System Exploration