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Highland Road Park Observatory

THE TRANSIT OF MERCURY☿

Monday 11 November from 6:00 am to 1:00 pm
Last one for thirteen years!
No admission fee.
($1.00 per person requested for Donation Drive.)
For all ages.

A “transit” is the phenomenon of viewing a smaller body crossing in front of a larger one. On 11 November—for the last time until 2032—the disk of Mercury☿ will traverse the disk of the Sun☉.

A Transit of Mercury☿ is not visible to the unaided eye. At least 30x magnification is needed to easily see the phenomenon. Several telescopes (at least six) will be in operation on HRPO grounds. HRPO will be open for the duration of the event. The Sun☉ will actually be rising here in Baton Rouge as the Transit gets underway!

Here is the outline for Baton Rouge (specifically HRPO grounds)…

CAUTION:
Viewing a Transit across the Sun☉ can be dangerous for one’s eyesight if not performed correctly. The BRAS Forum thread lists a number of safe ways to view the transit (and actually, to view the Sun☉ in general). Do not use sunglasses, do not attempt to use your hand to cover a portion of the Sun☉, and do not attempt to “glance quickly’ in the direction of the Sun☉. At any rate, a Transit of Mercury☿ is not visible to the unaided eye.
If a first-timer is in any doubt whether he or she will be performing the viewing safely, he or she should view the Transit only with someone with previous solar viewing experience.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW RARE IS A TRANSIT OF MERCURY☿?
Transits of Mercury☿ occur approximately twelve to fourteen times per century. Since some Transits occur when a person’s hometown in experiencing night, and some others while it is cloudy, a typical human being may have two to four opportunities to see a Transit of Mercury☿ live.

IS LOOKING AT THE SUN☉ DANGEROUS?
Yes, if done incorrectly. One must (1) use a projection device, (2) use a nighttime telescope with a solar filter or (3) use a solar telescope.

WILL THE TRANSIT OF MERCURY☿ BE VISIBLE UNAIDED-EYE?
No. At least 30x magnification will be needed.

WILL THE BATON ROUGE AREA SEE THE ENTIRE TRANSIT?
Most people in the Baton Rouge area will not see the entire Transit since the event will begin when the Sun☉ is at the Baton Rouge horizon. A Baton Rougean will have to wait fifteen to seventy-five minutes after the Transit begins to see the Sun☉ (depending on his personal eastern horizon). The best time to view the Transit of Mercury☿ from this area will be 7:45 am to 10:45 am.

WHAT WILL HRPO PERSONNEL HELP PATRONS SEE?
HRPO personnel will be using one factory-made projection device…
     *SunSpotter
…four nighttime telescopes with solar filters, two of which are…
     *6" Orion Dobsonian
     *10" Orion Dobsonian
…and two solar telescopes, one of which is…
     *90mm Coronado Solar Max II
Additionally, inside the main building will be a live feed. Personnel will provide special sketching forms (similar to the extra credit forms for students) so each patron can have a scientific keepsake. Information about the upcoming Natural Sky Conference will also be available, and the Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club will have a display showing the effects of solar weather on radio transmissions.

FOOD VENDORS
Capitol Seafood
City Gelato
Prices at title hyperlink.

OTHER ACTIVITIES
Large Dome Tours: 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am
Solar Quest Game (in progress): 8:00 am to 10:00 am
Solar Quest Game (prize redemption): 8:30 am to 10:30 am

RESOURCES
EclipseWise: “2019 Transit of Mercury” by Fred Espenak
Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Watch the Transit of Mercury
Sky & Telescope: “Citizen Science with the Transit of Mercury
American Journal of Physics: “The Transit of Mercury: November 11, 2019

PLEASE CHECK THE TITLE’S HYPERLINK FOR ANY UPDATES OR ALTERATIONS IN THE EVENT SCHEDULE.

WE CANNOT HAVE RECREATIONAL VIEWS OF THE SKY UNLESS OUR MILITARY KEEPS IT FREE. HRPO PERSONNEL THANK OUR COUNTRY’S VETERANS.


Updated by Frederick J. Barnett on Thursday, October 31, 2019, 05:18 PM.

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