How to View the Transit of Venus Without Going Blind or Making Something Stupid

While Philly’s freakers and tweekers prepare themselves for the astral ramifications of the approaching transit of Venus, us regular folk are merely wondering how we can get a gander at it without going blind or making something stupid and complicated out of cardboard or PVC pipe.

The last transit of Venus occurred in 2004, and after this year, the next one won’t go down until you and I are reincarnated into the presumed spiritual mainframe of 2117. Basically, this is your last chance to see it for 100 years, which means even your jaded, technologically superior offspring will not get to see it in person.


Here’s a list of ways to see the transit, listed in order from easiest to hardest. Please note: we are not scientists (in your dimension of being), so we’re not liable if you go blind or end up making something stupid out of cardboard and PVC pipe.

1. Wait until it’s over and check out everyone’s photos/videos online. Sure, you won’t get to tell your descendants that you saw Venus transitting with your own eyes, but you won’t end up with a $1,2000 telescope you don’t need and/or some sorry-looking contraption that ends up blinding your 6-year-old next door neighbor.

2. Go here and watch it on a live webcast. Once again, the internet will do all the work for you. NASA will be broadcasting the transit of Venus from atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii with commentary and information provided by NASA Edge, which, I’m assuming, is NASA’s Gen-X team of Red Bull-drinking, pro skateboarders turned astrophysicists.

3. Buy these glasses or locate a pair of #14 shade welding glasses. You shouldn’t look directly at the sun, but I guess those of you who can read this already know that. A pair of eclipse glasses are cheap and, if you rush order them today, they’ll come by Tuesday… probably. In lieu of paying money for dorky specs, you can go to the hardware store and steal buy a really bad ass pair welding glasses and insert some shade #14 lenses. This is a convenient way to start your journey into the world of Steam Punk.

3. Cave and make a pinhole projector. We wanted to avoid this, we really did, but apparently it’s a tried and true method taking a peek at Venus. You’ll need a cardboard box (f*ck), a white sheet of paper, aluminum foil and enough strength to poke a hole through said cardboard box. Here are some directions.

4. Spend a lot of money on a telescope and solar filter or make friends with someone who has these items. Ok, we’re getting a little bit off track here, but sight is important, so it’s crucial that you don’t skimp on your transit of Venus viewing paraphernalia. Check out this extremely complex easy-to-follow PDF for detailed instructions!

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