Public Viewing of the Transit of Mercury!
On Monday, May 9th, the planet Mercury will pass in front of the Sun. Astronomers call this type of event a 'transit' and historically transits have been used to measure the distance between the Earth and the Sun, a measurement that is so important it is called 'The Astronomical Unit'. Although not as rare as transits of Venus, transits of Mercury only occur about a dozen times a century. The next transit of Mercury will not occur until November of 2019.
So that people can safely observe this event for themselves, the University of Michigan - Dearborn Observatory will be open for public viewing from 9:30 am until 2:45 pm on May 9th (weather permitting). You will be able to observe the disk of Mercury crossing in front of the Sun, as well as seeing sunspots, solar flares and other features of the Sun. Never look at the Sun without proper equipment!
The Observatory is located on the main campus of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, in the Science Learning and Research Center (SLRC). Please take the elevator to the third floor and turn left though the double doors to the Observing Deck. Children with adult supervision are welcome.
Welcome to the University of Michigan-Dearborn Observatory
The mission of the UM-Dearborn Observatory is to promote the understanding and advancement of astronomy for the benefit of the people of southeastern Michigan.
The Observatory's goals include:
- Providing educational and research opportunities in astronomy to students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Henry Ford Community College
- Promoting science literacy through K-12 Outreach Programs
- Advancing the general knowledge of astronomy through public outreach events
Since ancient times, mankind has looked to the heavens and told stories to explain the wonders of the night sky. Astronomy tells the scientific story of the Universe, the story that seeks to explain all celestial phenomena, from the phases of the Moon and the orbits of the planets, to the birth and death of stars and the beginning and end of the Universe.
Astronomy teaches us both that we are seemingly insignificant in the vastness of space, and that with the application of human intellect we can answer some of the most fundamental questions of science - how the Universe was born, how the elements that make the Earth came to be, and whether we are alone in the Universe.
We at the UM-D Observatory believe that everyone should have a basic understanding of astronomy in order to appreciate the beauty and complexity of our Universe. Please join us as we tell our part of this amazing story.