DENVER (CBS4) – Stargazers around the world set up telescopes and passed out cardboard glasses to view a cameo nobody alive now will see again in their lifetimes — Venus passing in front of the sun.
The celestial treat won’t happen again until 2117. That’s one of the reasons there was a long line outside the Chamberlin Observatory near the University of Denver.
For the Denver Astronomical Society it was one of the biggest events they got together for — even bigger than last month’s eclipse.
“There will be another eclipse in about five years but this is a once in a lifetime thing,” amateur astronomer Todd Hitch said.
Hitch set up his telescope just before the Transit of Venus started Tuesday afternoon.
Hundreds lined up just across the field from the amateurs and took a look through the observatory run by DU and Dr. Bob Stencel.
“For the last time this century we’re going to see an unusual astronomical phenomenon if Ed Greene gives us some clear skies,” Stencel said.
Early in the afternoon enthusiasts were concerned, but even with some faint cloud cover the transit is still visible.
Stencel says it’s rare because the axis of Earth has to perfectly line up with Venus and the sun.
“It’s a bit of a challenge to observe. It does help to have a large telescope to magnify view with safe filtering to avoid sunburn of the eye,” Stencel said.
The event lasted just over six hours.