“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity!” How many times have you heard that load of malarkey? Well this time, it ain’t no hokum, tommyrot, blatherskite or flapdoodle. (OK, I’ll close the thesaurus window and get to the point.) This evening, you have the rare chance to view a transit of Venus — and unless you have some hellacious-good genes, this is your last chance to do so BEFORE YOU DIE! (The next transit of Venus is in 2117.)
Using such tools as the parallax method and Kepler’s third law (too complicated to explain here ... in other words, I have no clue what those are), scientists through the ages have used transits of Venus to determine the distance between the Earth and the Sun, and by extension, the size of our solar system. (Contrary to what Republicans would have you believe, science is pretty friggin’ fabulous.) Of course, witnessing Venus’ passage between Earth and Sun will require looking at the Sun, which can majorly mess up your peepers.
That’s where the Adventure Science Center comes in: Go to their transit of Venus celebration and they’ll show you how to view this, uh, astronomically awesome phenomenon — safely. The event, which also features experts discussing the transit’s significance, is from 5 to 8 p.m., and admission is free. The transit begins at 5:04. (If you want even more background, there will be additional demonstrations from 2:30 to 5, included in the general admission price.) 5