Remember when you were a kid and adults always told you not to stare into the sun? Well you still shouldn’t unless you want to burn out your retinas, but on June 5 and 6 if you do, you’ll see a black speck floating across the face of the Sun. This hovering dot is a little planet called Venus. You should take the chance to check this out, using proper sun-gawking safety measures of course, because it won’t happen again in your lifetime, until the year 2117 to be precise.
This is a rare occasion, as transits only occurs when Venus and Earth are perfectly in line. Usually Venus passes above or below the Sun, due to the respective of the planets. These transits happen two at a time, eight years apart, but the wait between pairs of transits bounces back and forth between 105.5 and 121.5 years. The last transit was in 2004, so to call this a once in a lifetime event is a bit of a misnomer. However, if you don’t catch it this June, odds are you won’t be around next time.
The history of transits of Venus dates back to Copernicus in 1543. Using his theories, “scientists were able to predict and record the transits of both Mercury and Venus in the centuries that followed.” Though the 1639 transit was the first to actually be viewed by human eyes, the 1761 and 1769 transits were the first to be widely observed for scientific purposes.
Now this next part is pure speculation.
I know very little about science, but a lifetime of science fiction movies has made me wary. This whole set up sounds suspiciously like a platform for an alien sneak attack, a camouflage for a renegade comet or asteroid, or some other catastrophic space event. You might want to be prepared.
Beginning of some cosmic apocalypse or not, June’s transit of Venus is one of those events—like an eclipse, or Halley’s Comet (Edmond Halley actually posited that scientists could use the transit of Venus to figure the exact distance between the Earth and the Sun)—that you might want to take a look at. It may not change the fabric of your life, but it’ll give you a fun little anecdote to carry around in your pocket and pull out at opportune moments.