Georgia Tech Observatory Ready for Mercury Transit

Telescopes on Howey Building roof offer chance to view rare celestial event on Nov. 11

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A. Maureen Rouhi, Ph.D.
Director of Communications
College of Sciences

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Telescopes on Howey Building roof offer chance to view rare celestial event on Nov. 11.

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On Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, the planet Mercury will pass across the disk of the sun. This planetary transit is rare, occurring only around 13 times each century. “This will be the last such event visible from Georgia Tech until 2049,” says James Sowell, director of the Georgia Tech Observatory.

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  • Mercury Transit 2019 (Credit: NASA) Mercury Transit 2019 (Credit: NASA)
    (image/jpeg)
  • Mercury Transit 2016 (Credit NASA Goddard; YouTube video) Mercury Transit 2016 (Credit NASA Goddard; YouTube video)
    (YouTube Video)

On Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, the planet Mercury will pass across the disk of the sun. This planetary transit is rare, occurring only around 13 times each century. “This will be the last such event visible from Georgia Tech until 2049,” says James Sowell, director of the Georgia Tech Observatory.

The transit begins at 7:36 AM and ends at 1:04 PM.

Because Mercury is so small, its passage across the sun could be seen only with magnification coupled with the same safety precautions when viewing a solar eclipse. 

The Georgia Tech Observatory will set up eye-safe telescopes in front of the Howey Building, by the Seven Bridges plaza, during the entirety of the transit. “The skies must be rather free of clouds in order to witness the event,” Sowell says.

For further information, contact Jim Sowell at jim.sowell@physics.gatech.edu.

The video on the right shows images from NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory taken during Mercury’s transit on May 9, 2016, between 7:12 AM and 2:42 PM.

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College of Sciences, EAS, School of Biological Sciences, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, School of Mathematics, School of Physics, School of Psychology

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Keywords
astronomy, Mercury transit, Georgia Tech Observatory, jim sowell
Status
  • Created By: A. Maureen Rouhi
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Nov 6, 2019 - 1:03pm
  • Last Updated: Nov 7, 2019 - 3:40pm