MINNEAPOLIS - On the rooftop of the Tate Laboratory at the University of Minnesota Denish Shenoy is getting ready for an astronomical event.
"I'm looking at the sun and I can see quite a few sunspots on there," Shenoy said looking through a telescope.
Those sunspots he's seeing will take a backseat tonight as Venus takes center stage. Venus will move across the face of the sun for the next few hours. The Transit of Venus is a marathon many of us will never see again in our lifetime. The next time Venus will cross over the sun will be in 2117-that's 105 years from now.
Shenoy isn't wasting anytime making sure his kids get to see this.
"I've told them that they've got to come see this because someday after I'm long gone they'll be able to tell their children that they saw the last Transit of Venus," the astronomy graduate student said.
Seeing Venus move will be tricky though. Looking directly at the sun can damage your eyes. Experts suggest if you want a peak use a telescope with a solar filter or grab a pair of eclipse glasses. You can also watch live streams online.
No matter how you see it experts say this is an event you don't want to miss.
"It's a really cool event to see because it doesn't happen with all the planets. It only happens with Venus and Mercury because those are the only two planets between us and the sun," Sarah Komperud, interim planetarium educator at the Bell Museum, said.
"It's historical. It's a very important piece of history in astronomy and there's lots of amazing stories about people who went out and observed the transit of Venus," professor of astronomy Terry Jones said.
The Transit of Venus once helped mankind measure the size of the solar system. Today it reminds us of just how small we really are.
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