Don't be too surprised if your friends, family and neighbors soon come down with a strong case of Venus envy.
And if you enjoy your astronomical phenomena rare, like a good filet, then Tuesday's transit of the planet Venus across the sun should more than satisfy you.
The passage of Venus in front of the sun is among the rarest of predictable astronomical occurrences, and it's considered even rarer than the return of Halley's Comet every 76 years.
Only six other transits are believed to have been observed by humans: in 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and 2004. The next occurrence won't take place until December 2117.
A Venus transit occurs in pairs, eight years apart, about once a century.
“In 2004, we did not see it (transit of Venus) here in the U.S.,'' said David Kriegler of the University of Nebraska at Omaha physics department. “Now we will, and the next one is a long way off.''
Venus will appear Tuesday as a tiny disk moving across the sun, and it will be big enough to be seen with the naked eye.
The beginning of the transit should be visible over all of North America around sunset. Anyone trying to view it is urged to take precautions against the blinding sun, just as a person would for a solar eclipse.
For the Omaha area, Kriegler said, the transit can be seen from 5:09 p.m. to sunset. Venus should have moved more than halfway across the sun's face by sunset.
He said a person viewing the transit should use special filters or be able to project the sun through an optical device.
“Either way,'' he said, “the sun is dangerous.''
UNO will also have a projected image in its planetarium from one of its telescopes on the roof of the Durham Science Center.
The university has special plans for Tuesday's big event, Kriegler said.
A program will run continuously from 4:30 p.m. to about 9 p.m., he said. It's free and open to the public.
It will feature a 30-minute video explaining the science involved in the transit, its importance and historical context.
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