WASHINGTON -- NASA Television will air a live program starting at 5:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 5, showcasing the celestial phenomenon of the planet Venus trekking across the face of the sun. The rare event, known as the Venus Transit, will not occur again until 2117.
The transit occurs when Venus passes directly between Earth and the sun. Viewers will see Venus as a small dot gliding slowly across our nearest star. Historically, viewed by luminaries like Galileo Galilei, Captain James Cook and even Benjamin Franklin, this rare alignment is how we measured the size of our solar system.
There have been 53 transits since 2000 B.C. The last time the event occurred was on June 8, 2004, watched by millions worldwide. This year, observers on seven continents and a small portion of Antarctica will be in position to see it.
NASA TV coverage will include updates from NASA centers across the country and locations from some of the 148 countries hosting viewing activities. Images taken of the transit from the International Space Station and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Solar Dynamics Observatory also will be aired with scientists sharing their perspectives and the historical significance of the event.
NASA EDGE, a behind-the-scenes, informative webcast, will air the transit live from Mauna Kea, Hawaii. This location offers the best viewing position of the entire transit.
For more information about the worldwide events, safety precautions for viewing, educational content and social media activities, visit http://venustransit.nasa.gov.
For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.
The public can follow the event on Twitter on #venustransit and download a free phone App at http://venustransit.nasa.gov/2012/multimedia/apps.php.
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