Venus transit viewing options in the D.C. area

WASHINGTON – There are viewing parties in the D.C. area set up to watch Venus cross the face of the sun Tuesday. The transit will be visible in the region at about 6 p.m. until the sun sets at 8:30 p.m.

(Scroll down for live streams of the transit event from NASA and tips on how to safely view the transit yourself)

Here’s a list of viewing events, courtesy of our partners at WJLA, who recommend arriving at 5:30 p.m. to the locations below:

    National Air and Space Museum
    6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Admission: Free

    University of Maryland Observatory
    Roof of Stadium Drive Garage
    5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

    Riverbend Park
    8700 Potomac Hills Street, Great Falls, Va.

    Cub Run RECenter
    4630 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly, Va.

    Nottoway Park
    9601 Courthouse Road, Vienna, Va.

    Kettler Iceplex
    627 N. Glebe Road, #800, Arlington, Va.

    The National Science Foundation
    4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, Va.

    Montgomery College
    Rockville Campus: Parking Lot 13 at the corner of Mannakee Street and Route 355
    Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus: Top of the parking garage at Fenton and King streets
    Contacts: Dr. Carrie Fitzgerald (Rockville campus) – 240-567-5415
    Dr. Harold Williams (Takoma Park/Silver Spring) – 240-567-1463

    NASA Goddard Visitor Center – Greenbelt, Md.
    5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Contacts: Susan Hendrix (susan.m.hendrix@nasa.gov) – 301-286-8955

Reminder: Don’t stare directly at the sun without eclipse glasses, a properly filtered telescope or a strong welding visor. Permanent eye damage could result.

Here are several options for viewing the Venus transit, courtesy of NASA:

  • A widely available filter to use is a No. 14 welder’s glass, but make sure the filter is No. 14 or darker. Arc welders typically use glasses with a shade that’s much less than what you need for solar viewing.
  • A telescope with a solar filter will provide a filtered and magnified view of the transit, including views of Venus and sunspots. But make sure to avoid small solar filters that can be attached to a telescope’s eyepiece, which can be found in older and cheaper telescopes.
  • A pinhole projector can offer an indirect and safe view of the transit, but you won’t be able to see things like the halo around Venus. For how to create and use this simple tool, follow this link.
  • Other methods include projecting the sun’s image with a projecting telescope or binoculars, and using a telescope viewer. For more information on these methods, follow this link.

NASA TV also will have updates from the nearly 150 countries hosting viewing parties and will air images of the transit taken from the International Space Station and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Solar Dynamics Observatory. Watch below:


Streaming by Ustream

If you prefer to follow along with the transit on social media, see #venustransit tweets below:

Finally, for more information about the transit, check out this video from NASA:

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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