Weather permitting (and it would be so cool if Mother Nature would cooperate for this one!), we’ll be able to view the full transit of Venus this evening beginning around 6:00 PM and continuing through sunset. What is the transit of Venus? The ‘once a century’ event that happens when the planet Venus crosses between the sun and the Earth.

It’s never a good idea to look directly at the sun, but there are lots of fun (and safe) ways to share this every-100-years celestial phenomenon with your kids! NOTE: Sunglasses alone won’t make the cut. So take precautions to be safe.

Watch from a Local Viewing Area
There are three area viewing locations that we know about that offer opportunities to safely view the transit.

  • Maryland Science Center Observatory  will be open from 5:00 PM – 8:30 AM.
  • The Howard Astronomical League will host a Transit of Venus viewing party at 5:30 p.m. at the Howard County Conservancy with 20 to 25 telescopes on hand.
  • The Westminster Astronomical Society will be host viewing locations at six Carroll County Public Libraries (Westminster, Finksburg, Eldersburg, Taneytown, Mt Airy, and North Carroll Branches) from 5:30 PM until sunset. According to their website, solar glasses will be available for a $2 donation.

Watch a LIVE webstream!
Both NASA and the SLOOH SpaceCam will be broadcasting the transit live on the web.

Download the Phone App
TransitofVenus.nl  has created a FREE smart phone app to let you view the transit. With this app (available on Android and iOS), amateur astronomers can join the ranks of historic explorers. Wouldn’t it be cool to let your kids know they’re just like NASA Scientists?

Read About the History of the Transit of Venus
There is actually an entire website dedicated to the Transit of Venus, which includes educational resources and tips for viewing the sun safely.

Project the Image with Binoculars
Can’t make it out of the house? Here’s a tutorial from The Exploratorium on how to safely project images of the sun with binoculars.

Have a Listen
Did you know that John Phillips Sousa wrote The Transit of Venus March? You can listen to it here, and find out more about the piece on The Library of Congress’ website.

Want to do a little pint-sized space exploration? Here are some great web resources for kids!

Image Credit: NASA