Students Witness “Transit of Mercury” First-Hand

The arrow points to the small round speck. That is actually the planet Mercury as it is crossing between the Earth and the Sun.

The arrow points to the small round speck. That is actually the planet Mercury as it is crossing between the Earth and the Sun.  Click on the image to see a larger version.

BRONX, NY – Astronomy and other students at Truman High School gazed skyward May 9th, and with the help of some special tools, were able to witness a very rare phenomenon.

“Most students won’t realize the significance of what they saw today for years to come,” according to Astronomy teacher Mrs. Kathleen Robbins.  “I’ve NEVER see a planet during mid-day and I’ve never seen a transit and I’ve been doing nerdy astronomy stuff like this since I was a little kid (thanks to my dad!).”

Students line up to take a look through a microscope as Mercury crosses in front of the sun.

Students line up to take a look through a microscope as Mercury crosses in front of the sun.

According to Wikipedia, the “Transit of Mercury” across the sun takes place when the planet Mercury comes between the Earth and the Sun.  This allows viewers (with the right tools) to see Mercury as a small dot moving across the face of the sun.

The students used a telescope and a special solar filter that made it safe to look directly into the sun.  During the lunch hour, they were able to spot the planet as it marched across the face of the sun.

“It’s not every day you get to witness something so rare.  I hope they appreciate that, even in the Bronx, in broad daylight, we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves,” Mrs. Robbins added.

According to Wikipedia, Transits of Mercury occur in May or November. The last four transits occurred in 1999, 2003, 2006, and May 9, 2016. The next will occur on November 11, 2019 and then on November 13, 2032.

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