If those of you around the Pacific didn’t get enough of safely staring at the sun during the recent eclipse, keep those solar glasses handy because on June 5th for those of us in the Western Hemisphere (and June 6th for everyone else) there will be another opportunity to use them. On those dates Venus will travel across the face of the sun. In the scientific community this is known as a “transit of Venus.” You can learn all you want about the coming event over at transitofvenus.org.
Apparently this is a pretty rare event which won’t happen again in our lifetime. The little explanatory video above gives a really wonderful explanation of why the transit of Venus has been so important to the scientific community. Frankly I wasn’t nearly as excited until I saw the video.
Since you should not look at the sun directly, you will need to find a way to safely view the event. In this case a pinhole viewer like I suggested you use for the eclipse yesterday will not work. Instead, you will need to either purchase a solar lens for your telescope, build a telescope viewer as suggested on GeekMom, or purchase a pair of solar viewing glasses. Without using a telescope, Venus will appear as a small dot as it crosses the sun. If we are lucky we might also get to see some sun spots. Enjoy, and feel free to post your pictures from the transit or from the eclipse yesterday over on the GeekDad community site.