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Where Can You Watch The Transit of Venus?

The once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event lasts three hours, starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Tuesday evening, residents of Southwest Minneapolis will be treated to what promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, the Transit of Venus. We mean it when we say "once-in-a-lifetime," too. The next one won't happen for over 100 years.

Starting a few minutes after 5 p.m., careful skywatchers will be able to see the planet Venus slowly traipse across the face of the sun for three hours.

Only, you won't want to look straight at the sun, to avoid damaging your retinas. Instead, you can build yourself a simple pinhole viewing device, a complex, binocular-based setup, or a pair of specially-darkened "eclipse glasses." 

The event is so significant, because it helped early European astronomers determine the distance between the earth and the sun.

So far, there don't seem to be any organized viewing parties in Southwest Minneapolis. However, the University of Minnesota will be organizing two: one at the Tate Laboratory at the school's Twin Cities campus and another at the school's Eisenhower Observatory in Hopkins.

Still, if you decide to assemble your own viewing equipment, any park with a good western vista—like Lakes Calhoun and Harriet—should do well.

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