Last night was a twice in a lifetime opportunity to see Venus cross in front of the sun. As I understand it, the Transit of Venus phenomenon comes in pairs about 8 years apart and these pairs only occur once in a person’s lifetime. The last pair of transits were in 1874 and 1882, and the next ones won’t be until 2117 and 2125.
This evening we headed over to the campus of Elon University to learn more about the Transit of Venus. We were happily surprised to find the rooftop of the Koury Athletic Center filled with local community members excited to see the spectacle.
There were telescopes set up with special filters that allow you to look through them directly at the sun.
They were also passing out special glasses, kind of like the paper 3-D glasses, but with really dark film instead of red and blue ‘lenses’. Here is Nate testing them out with our friend Lester, one of several friends we bumped into at the event.
These glasses allow you to safely look directly at the sun. In fact they are so dark that the only way you can see anything at all through them is if you are looking directly at something as super bright as the sun. In that aspect, Nate says they remind him of a welding hood.
Tony Crider of the Elon University Astronomy Department was on hand to assist people and answer any questions people had about the transit of Venus or other astronomy related questions.