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Skywatchers: Venus Transit Visible in WNY

Watch the sky tonight June 5th for a chance to experience a once in a lifetime phenomenon: the planet Venus slowly crossing the sun. The event, known as a “ Venus Transit,” won’t happen again until 2117. Museums and schools around the world are hosting Venus viewing parties. There are three such events planned in Western New York. See more Inside

2012 has been a very interesting year to gaze into the night sky and marvel at the wonders of the milky way!

Many of you have seen Venus outshining the North Star. That’s Venus right behind the Moon!

Flickr User Karimi

UFOs have been popping up all over the globe.
On May 20th, a new energy level of energy was created when the Earth, Sun and Moon aligned with the Pleiades (a cluster of stars, above Taurus) resulting in the “ring of fire” solar eclipse.

NASA

A couple weeks earlier we had a “supermoon” on May 5, a full moon at its closest point to Earth. And a pair of strong solar storms in late January and early March brought brighter-than-normal aurora displays, a phenomenon commonly called Northern Lights, to the region, but cloudy skies interfered with our view.

Tonight’s main Skywatcher drama unfolds early Tuesday evening beginning at 6:03 p.m. EST, Venus will appear as a small black dot gliding across the face of the sun. The planet will move from left to right across the top half of the sun on a downward angle and will be visible until the sun sets.

As with a solar eclipse, you should not stare directly at the sun which can result in damage to the eyes. Special protective glasses are recommended (a welder’s helmet with grade 14 glass will work) or go use a telescope.

“Anything silhouetted on the sun looks interesting. Seeing Venus is extremely rare,” astronomer Anthony Cook of Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory told The Associated Press.

Where to Watch the Venus Transit

The Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Parkway, Buffalo, will host a transit viewing event from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free for Museum of Science members.

Williamsville Space Lab and Planetarium, 1595 Hopkins Rd., Williamsville, which will use specially-equipped solar telescopes to view the event.

The Penn Dixie Paleontological Outdoor Education Center will open about 5:30 p.m. for a viewing party.

**The early Venus viewings were a big deal to scientists who used the alignment to measure the size of our solar system. The technique is still used today to search for alien worlds outside our solar system.

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