Today, Venus will appear to dance across the sun, a rare phenomenon called the transit of Venus.

The Venus transit, which will last for nearly seven hours and will look like the sun is being punctured by a small black dot, occurs when Venus crosses between the Sun and the Earth. The last transit took place in 2004, and we won't see another until 2117.

SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS, VIDEO AND RECAP

It will be visible from the ground in most of the world except for western Africa, southeastern South America, Portugal and parts of Spain, according to NASA. In North and South America, the transit will be visible on Tuesday afternoon and evening, while Europe, Africa, the Middle East and western and central Asia will see the transit on Wednesday morning.

It is never safe to look at the Sun without the proper eye protection, so click here for some tips about how to safely view the transit of Venus.

If you're an amateur astronomer who plans on bringing out the telescope for some skywatching, send us pics of your rig and the transit! We'll be collecting user photos from all over, and yours may be featured.

Click the Add a Slide button above the slideshow to send us your photos. You can also upload your photos to our Facebook page, tweet them to @HuffPostScience, email them to us at transitofvenus@huffingtonpost.com.

By submitting an image you are granting The Huffington Post a gratis perpetual license to use your image on its Huffington Post Science page(s). Further, by submitting an image, you represent and warrant that use of the image by The Huffington Post will not violate the rights of any third party and that you have the right and authority to grant these rights and license.

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  • Venus Transit Across The Sun

    IN SPACE - JUNE 5: In this handout image provided by NASA, the SDO satellite captures an ultra-high definition image of the Transit of Venus across the face of the sun on June 5, 2012 from space. The last transit was in 2004 and the next pair of events will not happen again until the year 2117 and 2125. (Photo by SDO/NASA via Getty Images)

  • Clouds partially obscure the sun during the transit of Venus June 5, 2012 as seen from Riverside Park on the west side of Manhattan in New York. Astronomers around the world are training their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. (STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • 8-year-old Alex Olling smiles as he uses makeshift sunglasses to watch Venus crossing the sun's face on June 5, 2012 as seen from College Park, Maryland. Astronomers around the world trained their telescopes on the skies Tuesday to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)

  • People wait to view the transit of Venus across the face of the sun on June 5, 2012, in Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia. Astronomers around the world are pointing their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. (RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A passenger plane passes Venus (black spot on the right) in the planet's transit across the face of the sun seen from Los Angeles, California on June 05, 2012. Astronomers around the world are training their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years.AFP PHOTO /JOE KLAMAR (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A woman and her child take a peek at a telescope during the transit of Venus across the Sun as at the Universum Museum in the National University (UNAM) in Mexico City, Mexico, Tuesday, June 5, 2012. Despite a very cloudy day, thousands of people gathered at the museum to get a glimpse of the event that will only be seen again in 2117. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

  • San Luis Obispo, Calif.

    Dr. Joe Schwartz observes the transit of Venus through a telescope from his home in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on June 5, 2012.

  • Venus Transit 2012

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Eric_Ebling"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/794169724/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Eric_Ebling">Eric Ebling</a>:<br />took this series over a few hours on my rooftop. Santa Monica California

  • Getting ready in Traverse City, Michigan.

  • 'Setting up shop in Texas'

    Celestron CPC 100 with MallinCam video system and white filter for sun viewing. (Submitted by FiberInspector.)

  • My Teenage Daughter Eclipsing the Eclipse

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/sexypathdoc"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/sexypathdoc">sexypathdoc</a>:<br />

  • San Luis Obispo, Calif.

    Dr. Joe Schwartz, left, and Barbara Boom view the transit of Venus in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

  • Venus begins to pass in front of the sun, as visible from New York, Tuesday, June 5, 2012. From the U.S. to South Korea, people around the world turned their attention to the daytime sky on Tuesday and early Wednesday in Asia to make sure they caught the once-in-a-lifetime sight of the transit of Venus, which won't be seen for another 150 years. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

  • San Luis Obispo, Calif.

    Brian P. Lawler writes: "About 100 people stood in line Tuesday afternoon to see Venus' transit of the Sun at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Manning the telescope on the left is Physics and Astronomy Professor David Mitchell."

  • Indian Pramod Kumar Pandey, Director of Jawahar Planetarium checks a telescope as he makes preparations for people to watch the transit of Venus in Allahabad, India, Tuesday, June 5, 2012. Stargazers around the world are setting up special telescopes and passing out cardboard eclipse glasses to view the once-in-a-lifetime celestial cameo of Venus passing in front of the sun. Venus is Earth's second-closest neighboring planet. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

  • Brian P. Lawler writes: Carina Hessmer, a graduating senior at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif., looks through an 80mm telescope at Venus' transit of the Sun. Behind the telescope is Cal Poly Physics and Astronomy Professor David Mitchell. Over 100 people stood in line this afternoon to see the astronomical event that won't repeat for over 100 years.

  • Venus transit over Dallas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/davidworthington"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/davidworthington">davidworthington</a>:<br />Venus in transit shot from Dallas Texas at appox 6 p.m.

  • Clouds partially obscure the sun during the transit of Venus June 5, 2012 as seen from Riverside Park on the west side of Manhattan in New York. Astronomers around the world are training their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. (STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Venus (top) begins to cross the sun's face during the transit of Venus June 5, 2012 as seen from the west side of Manhattan in New York. Astronomers around the world are training their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. (STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Venus VS Sun

    MY favorite Fuji with 30X zoom

  • Venus sailing across the sun

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/AdamJohn89"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1410774186/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/AdamJohn89">AdamJohn89</a>:<br />Venus sailing across the sun. Picture taken at 7PM from Havre de Grace Maryland.

  • Projection of Venus using binoculars.

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Maharlika77"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Maharlika77">Maharlika77</a>:<br />View of Venus from Columbia, MO.

  • Venus Transit in Milton Ontario using binoculars.

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Mike_Druiven"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1510503789/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Mike_Druiven">Mike Druiven</a>:<br />Photo by Sandra Voisin. Steady hand by Mike Druiven

  • In this photo provided by Ole Miss Communications, astronomy enthusiasts view the transit of Venus in front of the sun at the Kennon Observatory at The University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Tuesday, June 5, 2012. From the U.S. to South Korea, people around the world turned their attention to the daytime sky on Tuesday and early Wednesday in Asia to make sure they caught the once-in-a-lifetime sight of the transit of Venus, which won't be seen for another 150 years. (AP Photo/Ole Miss Communications, Nathan Latil)

  • Hong Kong stargazers use telescopes to observe the transit of Venus along the Victoria Habour in Hong Kong Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Stargazers around the world are setting up special telescopes and passing out cardboard eclipse glasses to view the once-in-a-lifetime celestial cameo of Venus passing in front of the sun. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

  • The Starlight Astronomy Club in Altoona, Pa., gears up for the Venus transit with telescopes modified for solar viewing.

  • Tom Kasner of the Starlight Astronomy Club in Altoona, Pa. getting ready for the Venus transit.

  • Venus, upper right, transits the sun as seen through a dark glass from Quito, Ecuador, Tuesday, June 5, 2012. From the U.S. to South Korea, people around the world turned their attention to the daytime sky on Tuesday and early Wednesday in Asia to make sure they caught the once-in-a-lifetime sight of the transit of Venus, which won't be seen for another 150 years. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

  • A cameraman records the Transit of Venus seen on a screen at the Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City on June 5, 2012. (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Venus In Albuquerque, NM

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Azulla"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1106103997/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Azulla">Azulla</a>:<br />

  • High Ridge, Mo.

    Taken with a Cannon PowerShot SX230 HS starting at 5:10 p.m. Central time.

  • Kyle, Tex.

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Tasheena_Ashton"></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Tasheena_Ashton">Tasheena Ashton</a>:<br />

  • In this photo made using a red filter, Venus begins to pass in front of the sun, as visible from from Overland Park, Kan.on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. From the U.S. to South Korea, people around the world turned their attention to the daytime sky on Tuesday and early Wednesday in Asia to make sure they caught the once-in-a-lifetime sight of the transit of Venus, which won't be seen for another 150 years. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Venus in Transit

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/casaroonc"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/casaroonc">casaroonc</a>:<br />I took this Photo with my Canon Power Shot that was looking through a pair of Binoculars that were looking through my welding Helmet. Venus is the green dot at the 1 O'Clock mark. Eric DeYoung Wilmington, NC

  • Meggan Wood's Homemade Solar Filter

    Meggan Wood writes: "NexStar 5SE telescope with a homemade solar filter and my Canon Rebel Xsi attached with a basic T-ring and adapter."

  • 4:59 p.m.

    Photo by Meggan Wood

  • A crescent Venus shines in an ultraviolet snapshot taken by the NASA-ESA Hubble Space Telescope in 1995. As Venus circles the sun, it appears to go through phases that mimic those of our moon when seen through a telescope. Visit National Geographic's gallery of Venus transit photos <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/06/pictures/120604-transit-of-venus-2012-pictures-sun-earth-planets-space/" target="_hplink">here</a>, and learn more <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/06/120604-transit-of-venus-2012-sun-planet-hubble-space-science-how-when/" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Photo by Marcus Holmes.

  • Marcus Holmes' Rig

  • NASA's SDO Satellite Captures First Image of the Venus Transit

    On June 5-6 2012, SDO is collecting images of one of the rarest predictable solar events: the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. This event happens in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years. The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117. (NASA/SDO, HMI)

  • Transit of Venus

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Tammye_McDuff_Dunn"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1642065951/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Tammye_McDuff_Dunn">Tammye McDuff Dunn</a>:<br />Using the technology of a Discovery 8" Dobsonian and a solar filter and my Sony digital camera, we caught amazing photos!

  • Venus Sailing across the Sun

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/hagjk_09"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/524358076/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/hagjk_09">hagjk 09</a>:<br />JHK Photography New Oxford Pa 17350

  • Venus hangs low in the evening twilight near a razor-thin crescent moon in an undated picture taken from Troms County in northern Norway. Visit National Geographic's gallery of Venus transit photos <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/06/pictures/120604-transit-of-venus-2012-pictures-sun-earth-planets-space/" target="_hplink">here</a>, and learn more <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/06/120604-transit-of-venus-2012-sun-planet-hubble-space-science-how-when/" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Transit of Venus

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Kelby_Roberson"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1817589103/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Kelby_Roberson">Kelby Roberson</a>:<br />This image was taken on June 5, 2012 in the United States.

  • Venus and an airplane transit the sun

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/grumpykel"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/grumpykel">grumpykel</a>:<br />Venus and an airplane cross infront of the sun.

  • Venus Transit 2012

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Richard_MysticalSun"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/507162091/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Richard_MysticalSun">Richard MysticalSun</a>:<br />I took these two photos in the SF Bay Area using a custom made kit.

  • Venus transit over Carbondale IL

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/debbiethechicken"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/debbiethechicken">debbiethechicken</a>:<br />Photo by Jason Thomas. Shot with a Canon S2IS (old) Inside a projection box. Images captured on Mac with a USB over Ethernet connection and Canon Image Capture.

  • veiw of venus

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/RobHTexera"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/twitter_profile_img/1876464.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/RobHTexera">RobHTexera</a>:<br />venus passes by the sun 6/5/2012

  • Venus Transit from Vashon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Mark_Cavener"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/764384573/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Mark_Cavener">Mark Cavener</a>:<br />Taken @ 3:39PM PDT from Manzanita Beach - Vashon Island, WA

  • Venus Transit 2012

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Richard_MysticalSun"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/507162091/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Richard_MysticalSun">Richard MysticalSun</a>:<br />Taken from the SF Bay Area using my custom solar astrophotography kit.

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Here is one amazing extreme closeup video of Venus as it began its transit across the sun [yesterday]. (It takes a while to load but is well worth the wait.) The telescope that took this image is a space telescope operated by NASA called Solar Dynamics Observatory. It's a false-color image taken in a kind of light that's invisible to the human eye -- but still has a very cool name -- called "extreme ultra violet." EUV for short. The kind of EUV light this video captures (at a wavelength of 304 Angstroms or 0.000003 cm) represents a signature emission from helium plasma. And there's lots of helium plasma at the surface of the sun. But lots of other light from farther-out plasmas in the corona that aren't very bright at all at 0.00003 cm.

So as a result we get a crisp image of the sun's "surface" revealing all the plasma boiling and roiling just at the edge of the fireball. And there is the planet Venus, appearing to float just above it. Of course, Venus is doing no such thing in reality. Today is just another extremely hot day on the Venusian surface -- 67 million miles away from the sun.

I am intrigued by the fact that as Venus crosses over into the solar disk, some of the light appears to creep in front of the planet. You can even see a ghost image of some of the solar activity behind Venus's shadow. My guess, without knowing the SDO telescope's particulars, is that illusion reveals A) an artifact of the SDO camera with pixels bleeding their signals over into the black pixels taken up by Venus's image and/or B) some of the sun's light refracting around Venus and producing a ghost image inside the otherwise black shadow of Venus.

Any astronomers or engineers familiar with SDO here please chime in!

More here.

-- Mark Anderson

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transit of venus

Renee Filiatrault

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transit of venus

Over three and a half hours into the transit of Venus and outside the JCMT the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii is dotted by members of the public who have traveled up to observe the transit of Venus from the sacred mountain. Our interest in the transit is reminiscent of the invite astronomers were extended by King David Kalakaua in 1874.

Inside the JCMT building it is all quiet as the data is examined in real time. What we observe is the molecular 'thumbprint' by molecules such as carbon monoxide that absorb the Sun's energy in the atmosphere. It is hoped that observations of different molecules in the atmosphere of Venus will help astronomers understand extreme daily variations in temperatures that drive the strong winds in the planetary atmosphere.

--Harriet Parsons, James Clerk Maxwell Telescope

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About 100 people stood in line this afternoon to see Venus' transit of the Sun at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Manning the telescope on the left is Physics and Astronomy Professor David Mitchell. Photo by Brian P. Lawler

venus transit

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My colleagues and I attending a Mars orbiter workshop got rained out for Venus transit viewing in Seattle. Rain in Seattle! What a surprise! We've been enjoying the view on the internet, however, from NASA TV and the many other sites live streaming the event.

Such a glorious sight to see our sister planet in silhouette against our closest star. Next time, hopefully I'll take in the view from space!

--from Dr. Jim Bell, Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

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Venus curio: The Mason-Dixon line -- marking a symbolic dividing line in the U.S. to this day -- is an artifact of the Venus transit. In 1760 the 32-year-old astronomer Charles Mason worked at the Greenwich Royal Observatory. Mason was a kind of mathematical prodigy and whiz-kid. His boss, the Astronomer Royal of England, picked out Mason to serve as observer on an upcoming 1761 Venus transit mission to Sumatra. (At the time the Venus transit was the best way to discover the fundamental number in astronomy -- the distance to the sun, or the "Astronomical Unit.") Mason's wife had just died the year before, so he hastily made plans to have his two young sons cared for in his absence. The British Royal Society paired Mason up with 27-year-old Jeremiah Dixon, a talented surveyor (who had also just been kicked out of his Quaker congregation for drinking too much). So Mason and Dixon first became a team to observe the 1761 Venus transit. Their voyage was almost a disaster, too. A French frigate almost sank Mason and Dixon's ship en route. But they made it to a fallback location in South Africa, collected spectacular Venus transit observations and so impressed the Royal Society that they re-hired the pair to survey a disputed border between Maryland and Pennsylvania in the American colonies. So the Mason-Dixon line was born. And Mason & Dixon remain legendary figures to this day -- with everything from a Mark Knopfler song ("Sailing to Philadelphia") to a Thomas Pynchon novel re-telling their incredible story.

--from Mark Anderson, author of "The Day the World Discovered the Sun: An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Global Race to Track the Transit of Venus"

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transit of venus

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Our observers are happy with the data that has been collected so far. They are excited that this data will allow for a different way of studying the winds on Venus, but the data is yet to be fully reduced and examined. Opperationally the telescope-the 15-m JCMT- is working fantastically we had a minor hardware problem but our telescope opperator and our support staff have meant that minimal time has been lost. Between selecting molecules, such as and positions to observe we have been enjoying viewing the transit from the front platform of the JCMT. I will ask them if there might be a 'nice spectrum' to send you, with some information on what it means. We have a web came pointed in the control room so you can keep and eye on us working:

http://www.jach.hawaii.edu/weather/camera/jcmt/

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transit of venus

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Another of the Hawaii-based telescopes being used to follow the transit of Venus. It's high up on the volcano Mauna Kea.

transit of venus

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This is the Hawaii-based telescope that's providing the images of the transit appearing on NASA TV.

transit of venus

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Venus is a dim world of intense heat and volcanic activity. Similar in structure and size to Earth, Venus' thick, toxic atmosphere traps heat in a runaway "greenhouse effect." The scorched world has temperatures hot enough to melt lead. Glimpses below the clouds reveal volcanoes and deformed mountains. Venus spins slowly in the opposite direction of most planets. --NASA website

One year on Venus is 225 Earth days. The planet orbits the Sun at an average velocity of 78,339 mph.

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transit of venus 2012

NASA astronomer Dr. Sten Odenwald: "When the planet Venus passes between the sun and Earth in exactly the right way, everything lines up and you see a small black dot travel majestically across Old Sol's face. The one we will see today was first predicted by long-gone astronomers over 150 years ago."

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HuffPost Science correspondent Cara Santa Maria rocking protective eyewear during the transit.

photo 3

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Google Hangout with roundtable discussion of the transit

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Venus is already the hottest planet in the solar system—even though Mercury is closer to the Sun, Venus' atmosphere is filled with sulphur dioxide, which creates a greenhouse effect. Temperatures reach into the 800s Fahrenheit.

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HuffPost Senior Science Editor reports:

Young child's question asked of speaker here: "If Venus is passing in front of the Sun, won't it burn up?"

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Japanese firm Obayashi Corp. plans to complete a space elevator.

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The 'Green Wall of China' is scheduled to be completed in 2050.

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2081 - Amy Winehouse's music enters the public domain.

2082 - Whitney Houston's music enters the public domain.

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