Public invited to view Mercury at U of S observatory

SASKATOON — Members of the public will have an opportunity to watch a rare celestial event on Monday, May 9 at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) Campus Observatory.

Community members and media are invited to safely view the rare Transit of Mercury event through the powerful three-metre-long Duncan refractor telescope, which features a six-inch diameter lens. From 8 am until 12:30 pm, Mercury may be safely viewed in silhouette from the campus observatory, as our innermost planet crosses the face of the sun.

"This is a rare event and a special opportunity for the general public to come to campus and take a close-up look at the smallest and one of the most interesting planets in our solar system," said U of S astronomy lecturer Stan Shadick. "And it's a chance for people to see what our historic observatory, which was completed back in 1930, has to offer."

The last time this event was visible on earth was almost a decade ago, on Nov. 8, 2006.

"The event resembles the exoplanet transits studied regularly by students in our astronomy specialization program," Shadick said.

There will be free admission at the observatory, with staff and volunteers on hand to help assist the public viewing. The observatory is located on the U of S campus, one block north of College Drive at 108 Wiggins Road. Contact the astronomy information line for more details at 306-966-6429.

For more information, contact:
Stan Shadick
Astronomy Lecturer

College of Arts and Science
University of Saskatchewan


Jennifer Thoma
Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan
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