06/01/2012 08:56 EDT | Updated 08/01/2012 05:12 EDT

Rare sighting: Venus will march across the face of the sun, but watch with care

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Yes, it's true. You can damage your eyes by staring at the sun. People need to remember that as they turn to the skies to watch the silhouette of Venus march across the face of the sun on Tuesday from the Western Hemisphere (Wednesday from the Eastern Hemisphere). Known as a transit of Venus, this won't happen again until 2117.

There are a few ways to protect yourself:

—Wear special viewing glasses such as solar eclipse glasses. You can buy them online or at your local museum. Alternatively, you can go to a hardware store and get a pair of welder's glasses, but make sure it's number 14 or darker. Or make a pinhole projector with cardboard. Do not watch the transit with regular sunglasses.

—Peer through telescopes outfitted with special filters at viewing parties hosted by museums, observatories and astronomy clubs. Many will also have experts on hand who could talk about the history and significance of a Venus transit.

—Tune in online. NASA, and the Exploratorium in San Francisco are among those that plan live webcasts.