Where to view rare spectacle of transit of Venus

Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve officials announced Thursday that volunteers will open the lands to the public to provide an opportunity to view the astronomical event from the Mare Island Hilltop.

The preserve will be open for viewing purposes and for general use from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 5, and viewers are encouraged to bring telescopes or binoculars with appropriate solar filters.

During the transit, which is similar to a solar eclipse by the moon, the planet passes directly between the sun and Earth and becomes visible against the sun.

The transit will be visible across western North America and Hawaii and will be the last opportunity for most people to view such a celestial event in this lifetime, as the next transit will not occur until December 2117.

Transits occur in pairs, with eight years separating the two events and more than a century separating the pairs. This pair's first event occurred in June 2004.

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