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Once in a century: ‘Transit of Venus’ taking center stage Tuesday in rare sky show

FILE - This June 8 2004 file phoshows transit Venus which occurs when planet Venus passes between Earth Sun is

FILE - This June 8, 2004 file photo shows the transit of Venus, which occurs when the planet Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun, is pictured in Hong Kong. Venus will cross the face of the sun on Tuesday June 5, 2012, a sight that will be visible from parts of Earth. This is the last transit for more than 100 years. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu,File)

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Updated: July 6, 2012 10:36AM

It’s a spectacle that won’t repeat for another century — the sight of Venus slowly inching across the face of the sun.

So unless scientists discover the fountain of youth, none of us alive today will likely ever witness this celestial phenomenon again, dubbed a “transit of Venus,” that will be visible Tuesday across the Western Hemisphere.

The next transit of Venus won’t happen until the year 2117.

It’s so unique that museums and schools around the globe are hosting Venus viewing festivities, including a free-admission gathering from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Adler Planetarium.

Venus will appear as a small black dot gliding across the disk of the sun.

As during a solar eclipse, you shouldn’t stare directly at the sun. View the phenomenon by projecting the image on a screen or using an approved sun filter over the front of a telescope.

Adler Planetarium will have solar telescopes for public viewing starting at about 5 p.m. and continuing until about 7:30 p.m., when the skyline blocks sight of the sun.

The entire transit, lasting six hours and 40 minutes, will be visible from the western Pacific, eastern Asia and eastern Australia.

Skygazers who want the full experience are flocking to Hawaii, considered one of the prime viewing spots since the whole transit will be visible.


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