Transit of Mercury, 9 May 2016

Always view the Sun safely!
Christopher K.
Posts: 4333
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Transit of Mercury, 9 May 2016

Post by Christopher K. » May 7th, 2016, 9:18 am

Professor Brad Schaefer had an interview with WAFB concerning the Transit. Sadly, neither Brad nor the reporters mentioned HRPO would be open--but HRPO will be open! Brad mentioned that binocular magnification is all that is needed to see the disk of Mercury. Being a professional, he's probably correct. However, HRPO stands by its suggestion of at least 30x in order to see the Transit easily. Also, please remember that eye protection is required while looking at the Sun. If one does not have any appropriate solar filter made to fit onto each front lens of a binocular, do not use that binocular!

(Also the WAFB article lists times for the Transit that are actually Eastern Daylight Time. For the estimated Baton Rouge times please refer to the first posting in this thread.)

The article:
http://www.wafb.com/story/31912918/beco ... ical-event

Christopher K.
Posts: 4333
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Transit of Mercury, 9 May 2016

Post by Christopher K. » May 7th, 2016, 4:08 pm

Interestingly, the Space Weather Prediction Center states there is a chance of mild geomagnetic storm conditions on Monday. Also, a nice sunspot complex (AR 2542) is rotating into view. That will be an intriguing comparison to the Mercurian disk.

This is what the Sun looks like as of this posting...
http://www.spaceweather.com/images2016/ ... mi1898.gif

This is the SWPC's writeup on the Transit...
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/news/mercury-transit-sun-9-may

U.S. Naval Observatory Map of 2016 Mercury Transit:
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/Mercury2016_map.pdf

Christopher K.
Posts: 4333
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Transit of Mercury, 9 May 2016

Post by Christopher K. » May 9th, 2016, 6:06 am

Below is the NOAA forecast for HRPO's Transit viewing time of 6am to 2pm...
precipitation potential, 15%
sky cover, 87%
relative humidity, 77%
temperature, 22˚C
surface wind, S 19 km/h


The clouds are extensive, but thin in areas and coming in bands instead of a solid sheet. Baton Rouge's next chance to view a Mercury Transit is in November 2019, so stop by and personnel will attempt to give you a live view!

Christopher K.
Posts: 4333
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Transit of Mercury, 9 May 2016

Post by Christopher K. » May 10th, 2016, 7:07 pm

Well, it was a bittersweet Monday for us at HRPO. Tom, Wally, Craig, Jordan, Hayley, Barrow, Krista, Amy, Emily, John, Roz, Ben, Trey and Scott were very excited to view this rare event and share it with patrons but Mother Nature had other plans. Still, considering it was a work day and school day, and considering the (mostly) overcast skies, ninety-four visitors was a good number. Thanks to everyone who helped out. Until November 2019!

By the way, the Solar Dynamics Observatory accumulated a lot of impressive images...
http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/godda ... site-image

The video "NASA's SDO Captures Mercury Transit Time-lapse" is currently at...
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html

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