Attention Earthlings!  This Tuesday (6/05) we will be treated to another celestial spectacle when our sister planet passes directly in front of the sun.  The “transit of Venus” will begin in the afternoon and for 6 hours we will be able to see a tiny black dot trick or treat its way across the face of the sun.  The best viewing should be around sunset for us West Coasters, and Wednesday morning’s sunrise for the East Coasters.

What is really cool about this particular space show is that it will be the last one in the 21st century, and only the 7th of its kind since recorded history began back in the 16th century.  What is uncool about this, is one must have protective eye gear to view it or  risk going blind.  And no!  Regular sunglasses will not suffice.

A few options for safe viewing include solar shades, some very time consuming telescopic trickery, or one of those groovy looking welding helmets.  Or you can do what I will be doing, and sip on a glass of Jack Daniels and view it safely via NASA’s live webcast.


Comments (5)
  1. Stan E. Delo says:

    Hi Nate-

    To look at the sun directly, you can also use a pair of welder’s goggles, like welders use while gas welding with oxy-acetylene torches. They are much lighter and more comfortable, which is why most welders use them while gas welding. Your idea of watching the NASA live feed is probably the best way to go here though, as we will be very lucky if it isn’t cloudy here when the transit happens.


    1. Um….I’m pretty sure you can use dark arc-welding eye protection to look at the sun, but NOT the kind designed for use with oxy-acetylene. Electric Arc welding produces a much brighter light than the blue flame from a gas torch.

      1. Stan E. Delo says:

        Good point Scott, as you need to use the right shade of lense. When you gas weld steel it makes the metal bright yellow hot, while arc welding steel or Mig welding Aluminum makes a white-hot *flame*. NASA says a #14 lense would be a good choice, while the goggles I mentioned might be a #10? My electronic welding auto-dark hood only adjusts up to #12 tint, but the Sun isn’t bright enough to switch the tint on, so I will have to use my old regular welding hood.

        Probably best to watch the NASA live feed that Nate mentioned though. http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html


      2. Adjustable tint! How cool is that? Anyhow, looks like the NASA feed is the only way we’re gonna see anything but clouds today…:>) SV

  2. Stan E. Delo says:

    VERY cool indeed! You can also get your Mig wire feed wire in Exactly the right starting place, and not have to disturb your position by having to flip the hood down with a sharp nod. Just pull the trigger and it auto-tints in like 3 milliseconds. You can also set the tint-off delay if you want to make it stay tinted longer after the arc stops.

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