Fans of Mercury, mark your calendars!!!
On Wednesday, November 8, the planet Mercury will pass directly in front of the Sun. This event is known as the Transit of Mercury and occurs 13 to 14 times per century. Mercury will appear as a very tiny black dot as it makes its way across the Sun’s face. Since only a tiny spot will be covered, it is still dangerous to look directly at the Sun. Some ways to safely view solar events are through eclipse glasses or by means of a pinhole projector. The best way to see the movement of Mercury would be through a telescope equipped with a sun-safe H-alpha filter. If this isn’t possible, don’t fret. You can visit the SOHO website to watch it from the comfort of your nearest computer.
The University of Michigan Angell Hall Observatory, complete with a 0.4-m (16-inch) diameter reflecting telescope equipped with a CCD camera, will be hosting an open house for the event. Click here for information.
If you miss it this time you will have to wait 10 years for another opportunity. The next Transit of Mercury is expected to occur May 9, 2016.