Today’s theme is staring at the sun. Every 120 years, in a pair of events eight years apart, Venus transits across the sun from Earth’s perspective. With the right equipment, you can watch the black dot cruise across the sun disk.
Today’s seven-hour window is almost certainly your last chance.
Gizmodo has the start times of the Venus transit around the world, as well as important safety information for watching.
Here’s an absolutely epic story from NASA about the 1768 voyage of the HMB Endeavour, under the command of Lt. James Cook, to chart the transit of Venus from the faraway land of Tahiti in order to measure the size of the solar system.
It’s tricky to observe our solar system. Check out all the problems Scott Carpenter faced on his 1962 voyage aboard Aurora 7.
But our unmanned missions have made things easier. Cassini just got great photos of a new, tiny moon orbiting Saturn.
We’re still pretty baffled by our stellar neighborhood, though. Scientists have measured a massive radiation burst that hit Earth between 774 and 775 AD, but they can’t figure out what caused it.
Maybe it’s that regular people don’t know the whole story. The U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane is about to come down from its orbital mission six months later than scheduled, and we don’t know what it was doing up there.