5th Jun 2012

everybody’s excited to go stare at the sun today right?

Venus transit! Yeah! We’re pretty much guaranteed to all be dead by the time it happens again!

If you want to tell future generations of bored children about the time you watched Venus cross in front of the sun because awesome and because those kids don’t know what they’re missing grumble grumble, the best time is after about 6pm Eastern time today.

And if you don’t want to burn your eyeballs right out of your face?

Try these tips from the Transit of Venus site:

  1. Use eclipse shades or a #14 shade welding glass. 
    (I watched an eclipse as a kid through some parents’ friend’s boyfriend’s giant welding mask and it was badass. So drive over to your nearest custom motorcycle design/repair shop and ask the burliest dude if you can borrow his for five minutes? It’ll be fun!) (And no, you can’t use sunglasses or peer through a hole poked in a paper plate to look at the sun, like my elementary school teacher told us at the time. I bet she laughed and laughed that night.)
  2. Pinhole projectors are a safe, indirect viewing technique for observing an image of the sun.
    (Oh, hey! Grab that paper plate, dude, and make yourself a snack while you build this easy awesome pinhole projector at your desk! It’s okay, it’s science. Just tell your boss that.)
  3. You may project a magnified view of the sun through a reflector telescope or binoculars onto a white surface, which conveniently allows a larger number of people to watch concurrently.
    (Just remember: the big end goes toward the sun. And don’t put your eye to either end while it’s pointed at the sun! Sometimes people forget that part.)
  4. If you’ve got a telescope, you can project the image onto a closed-loop device so everyone can see it. 
    (But if you’ve got a telescope, you are probably not reading this list.)
  5. View directly through a telescope, magnified and WITH A SOLAR FILTER.
    (Seriously, why are you here, and more importantly: why didn’t you invite me over?? I like telescopes! I like you, too!) 
  6. Watch the live webcast from NASA.
     
    (&NASA;, right? Plus, it’s from Mauna Kea, so you can tell those future generations that you saw the Venus Transit in Hawai’i. It’s not a lie! You did! Sort of.)

(Source: bit.ly)