Rare sight as Venus passes in front of sun tonight


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If somebody had asked you a few days ago if you were excited about the “Transit of Venus,” chances are you’d give them a funny look. It’s an opportunity none of us will have again in our lifetime, and it’s a sight that is truly out of this world.

Just look up in the sky tonight, and if you luck out with some clear skies you’ll see a tiny black dot passing over the sun. You can think of it as a mini solar eclipse. Instead of the moon obstructing the sun, it’s Venus. Because it’s much farther away, it only shows up as a tiny dot, so don’t expect a full blackout.

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It happens in eight year pairs spaced more than 100 years apart. It happened in 2004, but won’t happen again until 2117.

If you have a break in the clouds to look up, you have to be careful. Staring at the sun is dangerous. Just like an eclipse, the only way to view this safely is using some solar-safe glasses, a welder’s glass, or an indirect method like punching a pinhole and viewing it on paper.

All the action begins at 6:09 p.m. when Venus first emerges in front of the sun, and will end for us at sunset at 8:21 p.m.

Here at home you have a great place to watch the event. The Ingram Planetarium in Sunset Beach is hosting a viewing party. They’ll have experts to speak about the event, and you’ll be able to view it on their solar telescope. The event runs 5-7 p.m.

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