Transit of Venus - June 5/6, 2012
It's a very rare phenomenon that does not happen even every century, but when it does it may happen twice in the same century. This century is one of the lucky ones, but this is the second such transit in the 21st century and if you miss it, you will probably never get a chance to see it again.
That's because the next transit of Venus across the Sun's face will not occur until the year 2117, which is is 105 years from now. It's possible that the average age in the 23rd century will be over 100 years, but most of us alive today will not see the Internet pages in 2117.
For more information about the Venus transit times, check out out this excellent page.
Here are some samples for different locations in the US and the UK. In Hawaii, you will be able to see the full transit. The same is true about Alaska. All the other US states will get a chance to see a part of the transit, in the afternoon and evening.
In Los Angeles, where I happen to live, you will be able to see the most of the transit, and more than on the East Coast. For instance, in Charleston, a lovely town in South Carolina, you should expect this, and that means that, unlike in LA and other places on the West Coast, by the time the transit reaches its midpoint, the Sun will have set.
In the UK and other European countries, except for Portugal and parts of Spain, the transit will be observable very early after the sunrise on June 6th. Here is what you can expect to see in London.
Folks in Asia, especially in China and Japan, will get the best viewing conditions as you can easily verify using this page again.
But you can also watch it online. That's right. It will be webcast by NASA from Hawaii on June 5th, 2102. It starts at 5:45 EST, so those on the East Coast might actually be back from work by then and those on the West Coast can easily watch it at work. Hey, your boss will understand it. It's not like he is going to be alive in 2117 either.
I don't have the right instruments to watch the transit safely, so I am going to watch it online. This is going to be my first celestial observation done via the Internet. I prefer doing it offline, but I think this could actually be more fun. Let's hope the weather does not disappoint.
Here is a link to the webcast page.