Pray that the rain stays away because tonight there will be a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical opportunity known as the transit of Venus. Starting shortly after 6 p.m. and lasting until sundown at 8:24, Venus will cross in front of the sun, an event that happens in pairs about once a century?the last was in 2004, and it won't happen again until 2117. The Times reports that New York City's astronomers and telescope buffs are setting up stations around the city with special viewing equipment (you thought you could just look up at the sun and see it, didn't you?) to let the public enjoy the crossing, but there are dozens of other buildings, piers, and rooftops that will have clear sunset views. Never fear if you don't have a fancy pair of solar glasses; there are several DIY ways you can view the phenomenom without blinding yourself. Welding goggles apparently make for great eye shields, or you could build yourself a camera obscura. SF Gate says "all you need is a large cardboard box, scissors, masking tape, aluminum foil, a nail, white paper and a large bath towel." If that seems a little too involved for you, click through for our map of all the locations that will have legit equipment?plus a few buildings that we think we have spectacular views.
· To Watch Venus Journey Across the Sun, a City Filled With Vantage Points [NYT]
· How to See Venus Crossing the Sun [SF Gate]
Image of the transit of Venus via National Geographic