Astronomers and stargazers are in for a treat on Tuesday as a rare astronomical event – the passing of Venus in front of the sun – will be taking place.

Known as the “transit of Venus,” the event is similar to a solar eclipse by the moon. The planet (in this case Venus) passes directly between the sun and Earth and becomes visible as a small dot drifting across the sun.

Several sites around the Bay Area are inviting the public to see the once-in-a-lifetime event, which is not scheduled to happen again until 2117. The NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View is hosting a viewing of a live broadcast being filmed from the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii and attendees can also view the event using the facility’s solar filter glasses and telescopes. The Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, Lafayette Library and Learning Center and the hilltop at Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve in Solano County are also good spots to experience the transit.

People can also follow the event online at this site. Experts said the transit will begin around 3:00 p.m. and last for almost seven hours.

 

 

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech