Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

UW-Eau Claire and Beaver Creek Reserve
to Host Mercury Transit Events Nov. 8

RELEASED: Nov. 6, 2006

EAU CLAIRE — The planet Mercury will transit the sun Nov. 8, allowing Mercury to be seen in silhouette against the sun for the first time since 2003. It won't happen again until 2016.

The Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society will hold a Mercury Transit Event at Hobbs Observatory at Beaver Creek Reserve from 1-4 p.m. Viewers can see Mercury's progress across the face of the sun. Solar telescopes with special filters will be available to make viewing safe.

The department of physics and astronomy also will set up a solar telescope Nov. 8 in front of Phillips Science Hall at UW-Eau Claire.

Mercury races around the sun in 88 Earth days. Its tiny orbit keeps it so close to the sun that it's tough to observe. Every few years, its orbit aligns with Earth's and people can watch Mercury silently glide across the face of the sun.

To see Mercury in transit, people must use a telescope with a special solar filter. Looking directly at the sun could permanently damage people's eyesight.

Mercury is just 3,032 miles in diameter and the sun is 870,000 miles in diameter. It would take 287 Mercury-sized planets lined up in a row to span the disk of the sun. Mercury's tiny disk is not visible to the unaided eye during a transit.

For more information, contact Jim Fitzl of Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society at 715-834-2382 or n9lij1@yahoo.com, or Dr. Lauren Likkel, professor of physics and astronomy, at 715-836-5034 or likkel@uwec.edu.

-30-

JB

Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

 

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.