The transit of Venus is truly a lifetime event that occurs every 105 years, and today just happens to be the cycle of this spectacular show when the planet will skip across the sun before our very eyes.
If you live in the United States, you’ve got from just after 5 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday until sunset to get your solar glasses, or No. 14 welder’s glass, and watch as the planet Venus crosses in front of the sun.
The planet will appear as a moving black dot on the surface of the sun. Some have described it as looking like a little black hole has been punched through the sun, according to NASA.
The app allows citizen scientists to see where on Earth the transit is visible and at what times. It also lets users record their own observations about the transit of Venus — noting when it hits the edge of the sun — and share pictures of the transit via Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.
The app makers are framing the app as way to re-create the 1769 experiment when European nations sent scientists on ships to observe the transit from various points on the globe in the hopes of getting enough data to determine how far the Earth is from the sun.
“Anyone can emulate the expeditions of old without leaving home or making lengthy measurements of their location or local time,” Astronomers Without Borders wrote in a release.
But we think it’s cool to share an astrological event with thousands of people from around the world, who are also psyched and geeked-out just to see a tiny black dot show up on the sun.
If you plan to download the app, we suggest getting it early so you can practice timing the exact moment when Venus appears to be touching the edge of the sun.