Bishop’s University’s Physics and Astronomy Department invites members of the community to come observe the transit of the planet Mercury across the Sun’s disk from the Quad, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. today, weather permitting.
Directly observing the Sun without proper equipment and precaution can cause serious eye injury and should be avoided at all costs. However, members of the community can safely observe this astronomical phenomenon with the help of telescopes operated by faculty and students of Bishop’s University’s Physics and Astronomy Department.
The observation will pause at 11 a.m. for a few moments of silence to honour the memory of those who died for our country as is customary on Remembrance Day.
A planetary transit occurs when a planet passes between the Sun and the Earth, obscuring a small portion of the Sun from the Earth’s view as the planet’s orbit takes it across the diameter of the Sun. It is the same principle as a Lunar eclipse, but although planets are much larger than the Moon, they are also much further away, and planetary transits obscure a much smaller portion of the Sun than Lunar eclipses.
Although transits of Mercury are more frequent than transits of Venus, they are still relatively rare celestial events. The last transit of Venus occurred in 2012, which was 121 years before its next occurrence. The next transit of Mercury will take place in 2032.
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