Transit of Mercury – May 9, 2016
On May 9th, 2016, students, faculty, and staff observed the transit of Mercury from the steps in front of Miller Library. This rare astronomical event happens only when the orbital planes of Mercury, Earth, and the Sun align while Mercury passes directly between the Earth and the Sun (roughly once per decade). This transit is similar to a solar eclipse, where the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, but because Mercury is so much farther away than the Moon, it only blocks a small spot on the sun, which would be imperceptible to the unaided human eye.
We had telescopes equipped with solar filters set up in front of Miller Library to safely view the event, which occurred from roughly 7:15am – 2:45pm. Some pictures from the event are below.