PETALING JAYA: Malaysians will be able to see the planet Venus cross the sun beginning at 1.13pm today in a rare astronomical event which last occurred about 120 years ago.
It is believed that this will be the first time any living person in the world will see Venus travel in front of the sun. It last happened in 1884.
The Venus-sun transit, seen through a telescope as a small dark dot crossing the sun, will last for up to seven hours.
According to Muhammad Fairoz Asillam, a science officer at the National Space Agency (NSA), the event cannot be seen with the naked eye.
“Malaysians will be able to see the phenomenon with a telescope or binoculars, but only if the equipment has a proper solar filter.
“Viewing the event without a proper solar filter on telescopes or binoculars can damage your eyes as the transit of Venus occurs across the face of the sun.
“For those without a telescope or binoculars, the best chance to view the phenomenon is at the National Planetarium in Kuala Lumpur,” Fairoz told The Star.
The planetarium would hold a viewing session and people could see the transit through a 14-inch telescope which would broadcast the transit live onto a large screen in the science theatre, he said.
Fairoz and his colleagues are hoping for a sunny day. If clouds get in the way, Malaysians will have another chance to see the transit in 2012.
“Luckily for us, the transit occurs in pairs. The next transit will occur in eight years. After that we will have to wait another 120 years,” he said.
For more information on events at the planetarium contact the NSA at 03-2273 5484.