ONU hosts rare transit of Mercury viewing event

Federico Mansilla
Noviembre 8, 2019

According to researchers, it is a relatively rare occurrence as seen from Earth.

What's taking place on Monday is the transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun. The difference being Mercury is so small, it won't affect daylight here on planet Earth like the eclipse did last summer.

More than 60 astronomical groups across the United States will host viewing parties to allow the public to witness the rare celestial event.

Looking through binoculars or telescopes equipped with proper filters, Mercury will appear as a small black dot traversing across the face of the sun. Viewers are also required to use special solar filters to protect their eyes from the Sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Arrangements have been made to capture this rare event. As long as you don't have to buy anything, how can you pass up an offer like that? Mercury transits are possible only in May or November when its orbit crosses the earth's orbital plane. Both events will have their own special equipment, so just bring your curiosity. The event will last until approximately 3pm, or as long as the sun remains in an observable position in the sky.

Guelph residents (and anyone from surrounding townships) can view the event at either Johnson Green at Guelph University or the Centennial Arboretum Centre at the Guelph Arboretum from 11 a.m.to 1 p.m.

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KW residents have three options for viewing Mercury in transit.

In Ontario: 7:36 a.m. EST to 1:04 p.m. EST. Even though Mercury takes only 88 days to orbit around the sun (its sidereal period), duration between inferior conjunctions is 118 days (its synodic period) as the Earth, too, is orbiting around the sun. Most of the time you'll find this person deepen into her laptop with big fat glasses, browsing one or the other things. Both events will run from 9 a.m.to noon.

A viewing area will be set up beginning at 6:30 a.m.at the Survivor Tree Lawn on the south end of the park near Union Station. Only Mercury and Venus transits can be viewed by Earth-based observers as the planets' orbits lie within Earth's orbital path around the sun.

Because the transit begins just before sunrise on the West Coast, Bay Location citizens will miss out on the initial 2½ hours.

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