|Mercury transit offers rare chance to view this elusive planet|
Astrophysicist Timothy Young and colleagues will showcase a rare opportunity for a firsthand look at Mercury. On Wednesday, Nov. 8, Mercury will “transit,” or cross, the Sun’s disk from 1 p.m. through sunset, Central Time. Mercury transits the Sun only a dozen or so times per century; its next one won’t come around until May 2016; the next November transit is in 2019.
There’s a catch: you can only view the transit by looking right at the sun through special glasses. You can do just that this Wednesday on the south side of South Middle School (1999 47th Ave South, Grand Forks), where Young and colleague Ron Marsh, a UND computer scientist, will set up a free public transit observation site from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Solar observation glasses will be available for a nominal cost.
If you can’t come to the school, watch the Mercury transit live online at http://www.sems.und.edu and click on “view the Webcast” menu. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, an alternate site for transit observation will be picked that has a clear view, so you’ll still be able to catch the action at the web site referenced above. For more details about Wednesday’s Mercury transit “party,” contact Young directly at 777-4709 or at email@example.com.
“This November transit is an excellent, and relatively rare, opportunity to see Mercury, which orbits the Sun in just 88 days,” says Young.
The transit observation team comprises experts and astronomy aficionados from UND physics, the Northern Sky Astronomical Society (aka the UND Astronomy Club), the Department of Teaching and Learning, SEMs (Sun-Earth-Moon system, a collaborative project between UND Physics and the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences’ Department of Computer Science), the Grand Forks Park District, and Grand Forks Public Schools.
Young and Marsh are well known for their pioneering and widely watched solar eclipse Webcasts (they did both 2006 eclipses), which you can see at http://www.sems.und.edu and click on “Past/future Webcasts.” For more information, contact Tim Young (physics) at 777-4709 or firstname.lastname@example.org