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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- You won't see it again until the year 2017, the transit of Venus. It's a rare event that happens twice a century. This is the second and last time for our lifetime.

Looking at it with your own eyes will blind you, but telescopes are open across the city for public viewing, including one at Calvin College.

Dr. Larry Molnar, Astronomy Professor at Calvin College, is one of many scientists carefully watching the sky starting at 6:10 PM Tuesday when Venus begins to cross the sun. It will end at sunset around 8:30 PM.

Molnar says not only is it a rare sight, scientists are carefully studying how the sun's light filters through Venus' atmosphere. By observing subtle light changes scientists can figure out if a planet has oxygen. That research will translate to finding planets in other solar systems.

Dr Molar says, "If we could that with other stars we could find out if there are other stars that have oxygen. For example planets that could be habitable."

This will be the second time for the transit of Venus in this century. Several years ago it helped scientists discover the size of our solar system.