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Thieves of a Feather
Saving Africa's Wild Dogs
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Chemistry and Materials
The Buzz about Caffeine
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Small but WISE
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Dinosaurs and Fossils
Ferocious Growth Spurts
Dino Takeout for Mammals
Downsized Dinosaurs
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Deep History
Shrimpy Invaders
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
Alien Invasions
Finding the Past
If Only Bones Could Speak
Salt and Early Civilization
A Human Migration Fueled by Dung?
Food and Nutrition
Building a Food Pyramid
Chocolate Rules
Sponges' secret weapon
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Whoever vs. Whomever
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Math of the World
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Human Body
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Music in the Brain
Gut Germs to the Rescue
Sea Anemones
Camel Spiders
Asian Elephants
Sun Bear
Little Brown Bats
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
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What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
The Particle Zoo
Extra Strings for New Sounds
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Springing forward
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Fast-flying fungal spores
Space and Astronomy
Slip-sliding away
Baby Star
Catching a Comet's Tail
Technology and Engineering
Musclebots Take Some Steps
Young Scientists Take Flight
Crime Lab
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Robots on a Rocky Road
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Witnessing a Rare Venus Eclipse

Planet-watchers, take note. A rare event is coming to the sky next week. On Tuesday, June 8, Venus will cross in front of the sun for the first time since 1882, as seen from Earth. But don't try to watch it with your unprotected eyes. Staring at the sun can cause serious damage. If you have access to the right kind of equipment, though, and you're in the right place at the right time, the planet will look like a black dot drifting across the sun's surface. The event, called a transit, will last about 6 hours. In the eastern United States, people will be able to see only the last 90 minutes of the event. Europe will be a much better place to witness this momentous occasion. Better yet, anyone can watch it happen on the Internet. The transit will begin at about 12:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and end at about 6:30 a.m. EDT. From 12 a.m. to 7 a.m. EDT, the Norwegian Astronomical Association will Webcast the event from a few places in Norway at You can also go to the Web site (Exploratorium). From 1 a.m. EDT to 7 a.m. EDT, a crew from the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco will send images from Greece. If you live in a place where the transit will be visible, you can try watching it by allowing sunlight to shine through a pinhole onto a piece of paper. Look down at the paper, not up at the sky, to watch Venus cross the sun's face. It's worth finding some way to experience the event. Venus will cross in front of the sun only one more time this century—in the year 2012.—E. Sohn

Witnessing a Rare Venus Eclipse
Witnessing a Rare Venus Eclipse

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