Mercury Transit II


Well, we tried to see the transit of the Sun’s closest planet, but the weather challenged our desires today.  My colleague, Mike Urbancic, set up a couple of telescopes to see what he could see, and to talk with students passing by.  A few other astronomy-interested students helped out.  The sky began to clear at 9:56 am, giving us a 7 minute window, at best, to see if we could see Mercury.  We didn’t. Even though we could see the disc of the sun through the clouds, the coverage was too dense and wiped out any clear image of the planet.  However, part the work is just talking about why this all matters.  We had great discussion on how we use transits and Kepler’s 3rd law to document exoplanets on distant stars.  Here is the image of the Sun when we finally had a chance to see, albeit without seeing Mercury.  The clouds definitely gave us a poor viewing this time.

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