Where to view rare spectacle of transit of Venus

FILE - A tiny dot of the planet Venus is seen on the northwest side of the Sun's disc as viewed in Manila, Philippines, on a rare astronomical occasion in this June 8, 2004 file photo. On June 5, 2012, Venus will pass across the face of the sun, producing a silhouette that no one alive today will likely see again. Transits of Venus are very rare, coming in pairs separated by more than a hundred years. This June's transit, the bookend of a 2004-2012 pair, won't be repeated until the year 2117. Fortunately, the event is widely visible. Observers on seven continents, even a sliver of Antarctica, will be in position to see it. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

June 3, 2012 2:33:05 PM PDT
Amateur astronomers looking to catch a glimpse of the transit of Venus on Tuesday will have at least one viewing spot option in Solano County -- Mare Island.

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.