Transit of Mercury May 9, 2016, Eastern Horizon

Public Viewing of the Transit of Mercury at Mingo Observatory:

AAAP has announced safe public viewing through the Lunt solar telescope of the Mingo Observatory in the Washington Observer-Reporter beginning at approximately at 8 AM.  Astronomy club members arriving earlier who set up their telescopes on the hill will not have the orientation of the observatory building blocking the low eastern horizon and will get to view the transit from the start.

May 11, 1016 Update:Many AAAP members and members of the public enjoyed live views of the Transit of Mercury from our two observatories, Wagman and Mingo. Enjoy the Mercury Transit video from NASA’s SDO. It is the May 11, 2016 NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).

Diagram approximates Sun's position at 8AM, Alt. 20 degrees Direction 84 degrees East and Mercury's location on the face of the Sun from Time and Date, http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/pittsburgh

Diagram approximates Sun’s position at 8AM, Alt. 20 degrees Direction 84 degrees East and Mercury’s location on the face of the Sun from Time and Date, http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/pittsburgh

 

Transit of Mercury
May 9, 2016, Eastern Horizon
7:19 AM – 2:34 PM (Times Approximate for Pittsburgh, PA Area)

The transit of Mercury is not visible without a telescope. Never aim a telescope at the Sun as is needed to observe a transit, without proper solar filtration. Because of Mercury’s small angular diameter a telescope of at least 30 x – 100x must be used.

Warning: Observing a transit like observing the Sun requires the same safety concerns. Proper solar filtration must be used to prevent permanent eye damage. Never look directly at the Sun especially with a telescope unless proper solar filtration is employed.

A planetary transit can be thought of as a special kind of eclipse when planet appears as a tiny dot of the face of the Sun. Only the inner planets Mercury and Venus can have transits. Many AAAPers are planning to observe this Transit of Mercury event from many private viewing venues including visits to schools. It will not be visible to the unaided eye and requires 30X-100X power binoculars or telescope. Do not attempt this without safe solar filtration. Permanent eye damage can occur from looking at the sun, especially with magnification.

The next one is in 2019, November 11 and after that, not until 2032, November 13!
Here are some useful links:
http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/pittsburgh
http://www.space.com/32476-mercury-transit-may-2016-rare-ev…
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/tr…/catalog/MercuryCatalog.html

 Transits of Mercury:  1901-2050  (from http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/transit/transit.html )

                           Date       Universal    Separation*     
                                        Time    (Sun and Mercury)

                        1907 Nov 14     12:06         759"     
                        1914 Nov 07     12:02         631"     
                        1924 May 08     01:41          85"     
                        1927 Nov 10     05:44         129"     
                        1937 May 11     09:00         955"     
                        1940 Nov 11     23:20         368"     
                        1953 Nov 14     16:54         862"
                        1957 May 06     01:14         907"      
                        1960 Nov 07     16:53         528"      
                        1970 May 09     08:16         114"     
                        1973 Nov 10     10:32          26"     
                        1986 Nov 13     04:07         471"     
                        1993 Nov 06     03:57         927"     
                        1999 Nov 15     21:41         963"     (graze)
                        2003 May 07     07:52         708"     
                        2006 Nov 08     21:41         423"     
                        2016 May 09     14:57         319"     
                        2019 Nov 11     15:20          76"     
                        2032 Nov 13     08:54         572"     
                        2039 Nov 07     08:46         822"     
                        2049 May 07     14:24         512"     

          * distance (arc-seconds) between the centers of the Sun and Mercury

 

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Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.

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