On June 5th 2012, a very rare astronomical event will unfold in the evening sky.

It’s the Transit of Venus I’m talking about: the planet Venus will come between us and the sun, making it possible to see Venus move in front of the sun’s disk. The next transit of Venus will be in the year 2117, so none of us will be around for that one.

The June 5th date quoted here is for Newfoundland and the rest of North America, be aware that other parts of the world may see it on June 6th, and some places won’t see it at all.

In Newfoundland the observable part of the transit will take place before sunset, so if you want to see it choose a place with a clear view to the west. On Signal Hill in St. John’s for example, you will be able to see it from 19:33 until sunset which is around 20:54.

Of course, none of this will matter if we don’t get rid of all these clouds first…

If we do get a clear view, be sure to protect your eyes when looking at the transit! You may remember I put together a setup for this exact occasion, but that one wasn’t safe, it would have damaged my eyes during prolonged observation. That’s why I ordered a couple of real solar filters a month ago, one photographic and one pair for my binoculars that are safe for direct observation.

This is the photographic one, pretty nifty eh?

ND 3.8 Photographic Solar Filter

ND 3.8 Photographic Solar Filter

Now let’s all hope the sun will shine down on us on June 5th and 6th.