See the Transit of Venus Across the Sun Safely

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Image courtesy Nasa.gov

Starting at a little after 5:00 CT here in St. Louis, we will be able to see the transit of Venus across the sun for the last time for over 100 years. NASA has a lot of cool information on the scientific relevance of this event, but it is a fun event for anyone interested in space. Around here, it will be an opportunity to create a pinhole camera and do our first summer science event. Technically, this isn’t an experiment, but I am counting it as our weekly science goal because it involves building something and learning science-y stuff, ;).

We are going to make a pinhole camera because, of course, no one should ever look directly at the sun. Ever. You could go blind! They are not making that up–take it seriously! Fortunately, making a pinhole camera is easy and quick.

Click on the image for expanded directions courtesy of San Francisco’s Exploratorium.

All you need is some cardboard or construction paper, a bit of foil, a pin and a friend or family number to enjoy the experience with you.

You can see the transit here starting at just after 5 until sunset, although it will take about 7 hours for the transit to complete. If you click on the graphic above, you can see a larger version with timing all over the world. If you would like to go to a viewing party in the St. Louis area, there are a few, and of course, you can watch it online.

Remember, it is important to be safe when dealing with the sun, but don’t let that stop you from seeing this–I don’t think any of us will be around the next time this happens, in 2117.

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