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Looking Up: Mercury In Transition

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1min 30sec
Mercury transit on 5/9/16
Credit mprocell
Mercury transit on 5/9/16

The planet Mercury will transit the sun on November 11th, and you're invited to the party!

Today I want to invite you to a very special party here at KRCC, coming up a week from today. It’s a very special event that rarely happens, and if you miss this one, you’ll have to wait years to see it again. I’m talking about the transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the Sun!

You see, the planets in our solar system all orbit the Sun in orbits that are similar, except for Pluto, which isn’t a regular planet, but that’s for another day. And during the morning hours, on November 11th, the planet Mercury will appear to pass directly in front of the Sun relative to observers on Earth. A tiny but clear black round disk will slowly move, or transit, across the face of the Sun. For Colorado viewers, that black disk will already be moving across the Sun when sunrise occurs, at 6:38 am, and will move across the Sun’s face for several hours, until it slips off at 11:02 am.

How can you see this remarkable solar dance? You need special equipment, and the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society has your back. Again, we invite you to join us in the KRCC back yard, located at 912 North Weber, between 8 and 11 a.m. on November 11th. We’ll have the telescopes and the sun shields you need to safely observe this amazing event. 

If you’d like to take a closer look at Mercury, or any of the other wonderful and amazing things in the sky, please visit csastro.org for a link to information on our monthly meetings and our free public star parties.