Watch Mercury as it passes in front of the sun, Nov. 11 at the Keele Campus

On Nov. 11, the Allan I. Carswell Observatory team at York University will set up special solar telescopes along Campus Walk on the Keele Campus so that students, faculty and staff can watch Mercury as the tiny planet passes in front of the sun.

The last time Mercury made the journey was in 2016, and Mercury won’t transit the sun again until 2032.

Observatory telescopes equipped with solar filters to allow for safe viewing of the sun will be available for anyone interested in watching this event. The telescopes will be set up (weather permitting) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is a free public event, with knowledgeable students and faculty available to answer questions.

Mercury transits the Sun as seen from Earth in 2006. Credit ESA NASA SOHO (1)
Mercury transits the sun, as seen from Earth in 2006. Credit: ESA NASA SOHO

Since the orbit of Mercury lies inside of Earth’s orbit, Mercury passes between Earth and the sun about 13 times per century. The combination of Mercury’s orbital period and orbital inclination with respect to Earth give rise to the relatively low number of such transit events. From Earth, observers will see this as a small black dot moving slowly in front of the sun. Toronto is well placed to observe the transit.