Friday, 22 November, 2019

See Mercury glide across the sun in rare sky show

The observatory at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon SK The observatory at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon SK
Sandy Nunez | 09 November, 2019, 11:19

Scientists say what's known as the "Mercury transit" only happens about 13 times a century.

A transit of Mercury will take place when the smallest planet in the solar system passes between the Earth and the sun. The UVI mobile planetarium will be set up at the UVI library; faculty and students will be on hand to discuss the nature of planetary transits.

Unlike its 2016 transit, Mercury will score a near bull's-eye this time, passing practically dead center in front of our star.

Monday marks the first transit of Mercury since 2016, but if you miss this go-around, the next viewing opportunity won't be until 2032. There will be a video playing throughout the event inside the planetarium as well as solar safe telescopes for people to look through. The time of greatest transit, the halfway point, occurs at roughly 10:20 a.m., and the transit will end at roughly 1:04 p.m.

The rest of the U.S. will see Mercury's transit at sunrise, and Europe, Africa, and the Middle East will catch it at sunset.

From anywhere in the country where skies are clear, Mercury can be seen crossing the sun with binoculars or a telescope. On Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, Mercury will make another transit, visible from the eastern USA and Canada, and all Central and South America.

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"To view the transit, you should either be well-versed in using telescopes with solar filters or come to the observatory event or another public event near you run by skilled solar astronomers", Dr. Herring said.

Watch it streamed live from the Griffith Observatory here. Transits of Venus are rare, and there won't be another until December 2117.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Mercury is putting on a rare celestial show next week, parading across the sun in view of most of the world.

We want to remind you that aiming a telescope or binoculars at the Sun is a risky operation, requiring special equipment and techniques, and therefore best left to experienced observers.

In many instances, our line of sight is aligned so that telescopes on Earth can detect the tiny dips in starlight as an exoplanet transits its host star.