Mercury Transit Viewing Event

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Mon, 05/09/2016 - 9:30am to 11:30am
Tammy Smecker-Hane
Courtyard in front of Frederick Reines Hall
Intended Audience: 
Open to public: 

Dear Friends of the UCI Observatory,

On Monday morning, May 9, the planet Mercury will transit across the face of the Sun. Mercury is very small in size compared to the Sun so its not something you can easily view with eclipse glasses. You'll want to use a telescope to magnify its to see it well. So come and join us as the Astronomy Outreach team sets up telescopes to view Mercury's transit:

What: Viewing Party for the Mercury Transit

When: 9:30 - 11:30 am, Monday, May 9, 2016

Where: The courtyard in front of Frederick Reines Hall at UCI,
which is building #401 on the campus map found at:

Details: Visitors should park at the Anteater Parking Garage (APS on
the campus map) and can pay the hourly rate.

Transits of planets across the face of stars are very important in astronomy. When Mercury cross the face the Sun, we'll be looking at Mercury's darkside and Mercury will blocking some of the light from the Sun, and thus the Sun itself dims just a tiny bit, but not enough that you'll notice.However for larger planets, the dimming can be quite large. For example, for an observer outside our solar system, Jupiter would dim the light from the Sun by about 1%. That's easily measurable. Hence this is exactly what we look for to find planets orbiting other stars. The Kepler Satellite has found thousands of planets by detecting their transit across the face of their star, including Earth-sized planets that we think arein the Habitable Zone around their star. You can read more about it at or come and ask us all your questions. We'd be happy to answer them.

This event is free and open to the public so feel free to forward this email on to friends who you think might be interested

Hope to see you there because Mercury won't transit again until Nov, 2019!


Tammy Smecker-Hane
Director, UCI Observatory & Astronomy Outreach Program


PS - The photo shows the path of Mercury during its 2006 transit is shown in this composite image created from observations by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. (SOHO/NASA)