On June 5, 2012 I was staring at the Sun through my telescope. It was a historical moment, as Venus was passing in front of the Sun, and casting its shadow. In case you missed it, you can see the transit again in December 2117 (the next time it will happen)!! If like most people, you don’t have the patience to wait over 100 years, you are in luck, as Mercury will perform the same feat tomorrow.
Looking directly at the Sun is bad, so don’t try that at home…or anywhere else. For the Venus transit, I constructed this homemade Sun projector.
This contraption acted as a Sun filter, while also making the image larger. In this way I was able to share the spectacular occurrence with random people frequenting Zilker park (in Austin, TX). For around a $5 investment, I was somewhat surprised that it worked as perfectly as I envisioned. However, if you lack a telescope or proper viewing tools, NASA will be streaming the Mercury transit online. Details are available here.