Enrique Gomez, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Western Carolina University, will host a safe way to view a somewhat rare astronomical event called a transit of Mercury beginning at 11 a.m. Monday, May 9, on the lawn of A.K. Hinds University Center.

“A transit of Mercury is where the planet will come between the Earth and the sun so it appears as a small disk on top of the sun,” Gomez said. “As an astronomer, I would like to set up a small telescope with a solar filter so that anyone can get a peek at the event and view it safely.

“People should not look at the sun either directly or through a telescope without proper filtering, which can result in serious damage to the eyes.”

The viewing will take place until noon, if skies are clear.

The last time this event occurred was about a decade ago, according to a page on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration website: http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-to-provide-coverage-of-may-9-mercury-transit-of-the-sun.

For more information about the transit of Mercury and the viewing event, contact Gomez at egomez@wcu.edu or 828-227-2718.