On Tuesday, June 5, another celestial event, the "Transit of Venus" is set to begin at 4:04 p.m. local time until sunset. The Transit of Venus occurs when the planet passes directly between earth and the sun, and it is seen as a small dot gliding slowly across the face of the sun. The UNM Observatory will be open for the Transit of Venus beginning at 4 p.m.

This will be the last transit of Venus to occur in your lifetime. This rare alignment, even moreso than the recent annular solar eclipse, won't happen again until 2117.

To observe the transit of Venus directly you must protect your eyes at all times with proper solar filters. You can experience the transit of Venus safely, provided you use proper eye protection.

"Safety is very important," said Richard Rand, professor, UNM Department of Physics and Astronomy. "Never look directly into the sun with your eyes or through a pair of binoculars, cameras or telescopes. Viewing at the UNM Observatory will be available through special solar filtered telescopes."

Historically, this rare alignment is how we measured the size of our solar system. The view is like a front row seat to the transit method, by which we now find planets around distant stars. The entire transit lasts over six hours.

To view, visit: local transit times.

Slooh Space Camera will provide a live broadcast from worldwide sites - view online at Slooh.com. Watch the global celebration unfold with expert commentary or check your local planetarium or museum for additional live observing opportunities in your community.

At the UNM Observatory, free parking will be available beginning at 3:30 p.m. near the area of Lot M outlined in red on the accompanying map. Additional, covered parking for $1.75 per hour is available in Lot I, the parking structure at the southeast corner of Lomas Blvd. and Yale Blvd., also shown in red on the map. There will be a cart serving hot dogs and drinks.

For more information, visit: Transit of Venus.

Media Contact: Steve Carr (505) 277-1821; email: scarr@unm.edu