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Venus to Cross Face of Sun in Rare Event

Venus will transit across the sun for the last time this century and probably your lifetime on June 5, 6.

The transit of Venus across the face of the sun will be a rare sight. In fact, it will be the last time it will happen this century and probably your lifetime. But don't look at it directly without protecting your eyes. Sunglasses aren't adequate.

According to NASA, the passage of Venus across the sun only happens twice in a century. It happened in 2004 and is scheduled to occur again on Tuesday, June 5, and Wednesday, June 6, 2012.

Although the entire eclipse will be visible from certain countries, in the United States and the western hemisphere it will only be visible as it begins Tuesday afternoon. The sun will set before the transit ends. In the eastern hemisphere, the transit can be observed at sunrise and early Wednesday morning.

Locally, one of the places to witness the transit of Venus has to be on top of Stone Mountain from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday. The park has partnered with the Atlanta Astronomy Club to give folks a chance to see it. There will be 10 large solar-filtered telescopes set up on top of of the mountain. Participants will hear club members describe the event.There will be a parking fee and a lift fee for the public.

Cloudy weather, less than ideal for viewing the event, is predicted for the Atlanta area, however. If this is the case, watch it online.

According to www.transitofvenus.org, when the transit happens, Venus will be seen as a small dot gliding slowly across the face of the sun. The event will be carried live on a space camera at http://events.slooh.com.

Safe viewing techniques include wearing disposable eclipse shades, watching it through a pinhole projector, using solar filers over telescopes, and watching a live webcast. Click here for safe ways to watch Venus transit the sun.

The next time this phenomenon is expected to occur is 2117.

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