For the founding president of the York County Astronomical Society, few things compare to the night sky.
"If anything, it humbles you," said Kerry Smith, a Spring Garden resident who is now a trustee with the society.
He is passionate about sharing all that can be seen in the universe, claiming astronomy offers a "great perception of one's being.
"It's amazing just to capture what people are experiencing," he said.
As Venus passes between the Earth and sun Tuesday evening, Smith will be sharing that experience with co-workers at Becton Dickinson, a biomedical firm in Hunt Valley, Md. About 20 employees there will share five sets of solar glasses, catching glimpses of the planet slipping slowly across the sun.
No telescope is needed. You only need protective eyewear, he said. And though it won't look like much more than a perfectly-little, round dot, it's special, he said.
"Compared to other celestial events, what makes the Venus transit interesting is that it doesn't occur very often. We won't see it again for more than 100 years," he said.
While Smith watches from Maryland, members of the York County Astronomical Society will host a free viewing from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the club's observatory at John C. Rudy County Park in Emigsville.
The observatory has telescopes that will allow visitors to safely see the sun, and one of the telescopes will pipe in the view to a large screen inside as well.
In addition to protecting your eyes during the event, you should also protect your cameras and phones.
"Don't take a photo with your camera phone or other devices, unless there's a special shield. Otherwise, the sun can destroy the sensors," said Bill Kreiger, professor of earth sciences and science education at York College.
Because the transit of Venus happens about every 105 years, it makes it a special moment viewers want to capture, he said. But they may not realize its importance in your history, he said.
"It is a way and was a way to determine the distance from Earth to the sun," he said.
It was also part of discoveries made by Captain James Cook during his voyages in the 1700s, Kreiger said.
"I want to see what Captain Cook saw," he said.
Farther north, the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg will host a free viewing at Riverfront Park (Kunkel Memorial Plaza) from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"Let's hope for clear skies on Tuesday!" said Steve Bishop, vice president of science and IMAX programs at Whitaker.
Venus will not pass between the Earth and sun again until Dec. 10, 2117.
- Reach Candy Woodall at 505-5437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.