Tomorrow: Watch the Transit of Venus from the High Line

Stop by the High Line tomorrow at sunset to catch the Transit of Venus – an astronomical event in which the planet Venus will pass before the Sun, as seen here in an image from 2004. Photo by NASA.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that the rain and clouds will break for tomorrow’s stargazing session on the High Line. If the weather permits, you’ll be able to see a rare astronomical event called the Transit of Venus.

At approximately 6:00 PM, the planet Venus will begin to pass directly between the Sun and the Earth. The last Transit of Venus took place in June of 2004, and projections show it won’t be visible again until the year 2117!

Learn more after the jump.

The Transit of Venus is one of the most rare of the predictable astronomical events. According to NASA, the event occurs as a pair, separated by eight years, on a cycle that puts each set of pairs 100 years apart. The last pair of transits took place in December, 1874 and December, 1882, and tomorrow’s event will mark the second and last of this century’s transits.

While such an event may seem unimportant, eclipses and transits offer a unique view of our solar system. According to the International Astronomical Union, the Transit of Venus in 1639 helped build the most accurate measurement of the size our solar system to date. Even now, scientists around the world will be viewing this Tuesday’s transit for insight on a number of research projects, namely the search for evidence of planets outside the Solar System.

On the east coast, we will only be able to see the beginning of the transit, while those in the Pacific Ocean will be able to see the full transit. On the High Line, it should be visible beginning at approximately 6:00 PM, and staying visible until the sun sets around 8:20 PM.

Tomorrow’s event is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we hope the weather will cooperate!

If the weather holds out, join us at sunset with the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York on the High Line at West 14th Street, or stop by after sunset to view the Moon and stars. To get weather updates on tomorrow’s event, check our web event listing or follow @highlinenyc on Twitter. We will post an update by mid-afternoon tomorrow.

On the High Line at West 14th Street

The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will be bringing filters for viewing that will protect your eyes. Since viewing the transit involves looking directly at the Sun, eye protection or safe viewing precautions are necessary. If you are watching from home or elsewhere on the High Line, exercise caution when viewing the event.

Learn more about NASA-approved techniques for watching solar events.

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