Astronomy event to celebrate transit of Mercury

28 April 2016

Astrophysicists will discuss the phenomenon on 9 May

A free astronomy talk is taking place at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to celebrate the transit of Mercury.

‘Finding planets in the shadows: a history of discovery’ will discuss the phenomenon and how it relates to the discovery of planets outside our solar system.

The Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, in collaboration with the UCLan and Ri Young Scientist Centre, will host the event on Monday 9 May at 8.30pm in Darwin Building.

Mercury transits are rare events that happen only 13 or 14 times every century. On 9 May Mercury will pass in front of the Sun and it will be visible as a tiny black dot on the Sun’s surface. Similar events happen in distant extrasolar planetary systems and these are used by astronomers to discover new planets.

UCLan astrophysicists Dr Alex Dunhill and Dr Dimitris Stamatellos will discuss the history of transit observations before the 20th Century, and how we observe transits in other solar systems with NASA’s space telescope called Kepler. They will further elaborate on how these results constrain the theories of planet formation that are being developed at the University.

Book your free place online

If you are interested in observing the transit of Mercury, the Preston and District Astronomic Society will be observing it using safe solar viewing equipment in Haslam Park, Ashton-on-Ribble, from 11.30am onwards. For more details see here