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One of Astronomy’s Rarest Events Will be Visible in East Texas Tonight

Ian Waldie, Getty Images

When you hear the phrase, “Transit of Venus,” it sounds like it might be a band name or a good club with velvet ropes and a line out the door on a Saturday night. But it has nothing to do with pop culture. It really does have something to do with the planet Venus, and it’s a rare event that we’ll be able to witness tomorrow in Tyler.

Scientists say The Transit of Venus happens about every 100 years, and then it happens twice in a period of eight years. The last Transit of Venus happened in 2004, and was visible in London.

It’s when Venus crosses between the earth and the sun, and as it moves across the sun’s suface it’s visible as a tiny black dot. You can see it in the picture attached here – Venus is the small black circle shown at different places as it moves across the circle of the sun.

If you want to view the rare event on Tuesday, The Astronomical Society of East Texas is having a public viewing at Tyler Junior College campus from about 2 to 9 p.m. They’ll have telescopes set up there with sun filters on them. Venus is expected to pass between the earth and sun between 4 and 4:30pm.

If you still have those special sunglasses leftover from the eclipse in May, use those to view the Transit of Venus. Otherwise, visit transitofvenus.org for safe viewing tips.

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