It’s called the Transit – and you won’t see it again until the year 2117 – so keep your eyes peeled the evening of Tuesday, June 5th. Our neighbouring planet Venus will be passing between the Earth and the Sun and when it does, we will be able to see it. DO NOT look with the naked eye. Below are some suggestions on how to safely see the transit. It will begin at 6:04 p.m. ET and will last about six hours. But for us in western Canada, it will be visible for only a few hours before sunset …which is 9:58pm.
Venus will cross the plane of Earth’s orbit at the precise time that Earth, Venus and the Sun are lined up. And now – let’s have the Science Teacher take over: This doesn’t happen very often because most of the time when Venus crosses Earth’s orbital plane, Earth is somewhere else in its orbit, so there is no direct sight line from Earth to Venus and the Sun. Earth orbits the sun slower than Venus. If they both orbited in the same plane, like runners running around a track, then every time Venus ‘lapped’ Earth, there would be a transit. But Venus’s orbit is ’tilted’ relative to Earth’s orbit, so the only way Venus and Earth can line up with the sun is if Venus laps Earth exactly when Venus happens to be passing through the plane of Earth’s orbit.
The last transit was in June 2004, the next one is December 2117.
Visit the TELUS World of Science in Edmonton. They have all the equipment that you will need to safely observe the transit.
DO NOT USE:
- Smoked Glass
- Welder’s Filter less than a #14 shade
- Exposed pieces of photographic film (Black and White or Colour)
- Photographic neutral density filters
- Through dark garbage bags
- Binoculars or a telescope without a proper solar filter at the aperture
All of the above items are UNSAFE
SAFE VIEWING METHODS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
- A #14 (Number Fourteen) Welding Filter. This item is a piece of dark green glass, normally about 2 inches by 4 inches. It is a SAFE way to look at the Sun directly since it filters out much of the visible light (allowing only a very small percentage of light to come through) and all of the harmful invisible radiation. They can be obtained from most welding supply stores.
- Special metal coated mylar solar eclipse viewing glasses will be available for purchase in the Science Gift Shop. These can be used for the partial solar eclipse on May 20 or for the Transit of Venus on June 5.
- A proper solar filter for a telescope. These solar filters are available through a variety of sources. Please note that you never want to put filters at the eyepiece, they must always be placed securely at the front of the telescope before the light enters the optical system. All secondary or finder scopes should also have a filter or be removed.
- Will you be able to see the Transit?
WE WISH YOU GOOD VIEWING! DON’T FORGET TO LET US KNOW AT BT EDMONTON IF YOU SAW THAT LITTLE BLACK DOT ON THE SUN.