Millikin University to offer view of rare transit of Mercury

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[May 07, 2016]  DECATUR - On Monday, May 9, 2016, Millikin University will present a viewing of the transit of Mercury across the Sun. Transits of Mercury, which can be thought of as a very partial eclipse of the Sun, are fairly rare, with the next one visible in the United States taking place in 2019. The viewing will be streamed on Millikin Universityís YouTube Channel. The broadcast will be held from the Requarth Observatory at Leighty-Tabor Science Center on Millikinís campus.

The transit will begin at 7:13 a.m. and end at 2:42 p.m.

The transit or passage of a planet across the face of the Sun is a relatively rare occurrence. As seen from Earth, only transits of Mercury and Venus are possible. There are approximately 13 transits of Mercury each century. In comparison, transits of Venus occur in pairs with more than a century separating each pair.

Housed on the fifth floor of the Leighty-Tabor Science Center, the Requarth Observatory was built along with the rest of the Leighty-Tabor Science Center in 2000. All three 300 lb. support sections that hold the 20" (.5 meter) telescope were carried up five flights of stairs by hand. Faculty and students are continually updating the observatory to meet their scientific needs.

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In addition to the main telescope, the Leighty-Tabor Science Center also features an observation deck on the fifth floor that surrounds the base of the dome. This observation deck provides a platform to set up the smaller 8" telescopes that are commonly used in introductory astronomy courses.

[Millikin University Media Relations]


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