Ready for Mercury’s Shadow

Transit of Mercury in hydrogen alpha
What we're hoping to see on November 8th.
Most of us have been in our new offices a full week. But thanks to Verizon, who couldn't manage to set up our phones on schedule, our customer-service department isn't here; those folks are at the old offices where our phones are. Consequently, the rest of us don't have phones on our desks that can reach the outside world. Our voicemail is still being recorded at the old place, but we have to check it remotely. I think many of us will remember how Verizon helped our productivity when it comes time to renewing cell-phone plans.

Most of the moving crates were taken away this morning so hopefully things will be more normal next week, when the sky will provide us with a rare event: a transit of Mercury on Wednesday, November 8th. Weather-permitting, several editors will likely set up in the park across the street to watch and record the the silhouette of Mercury crossing the disk of the Sun. The transit will begin at 2:12 Eastern time for us, and will still be going on as the Sun sets. For details about the transit, see the November issue of Sky & Telescope (page 57), the November/December issue of Night Sky (page 38), or our online article.

If weather doesn't permit for us or for you, there's always the Internet. The University of Hawaii announced yesterday that they will host a webcast of the event. Hawaiians won't have their view of the transit blocked by Earth, so they will be able to see the entire 5-hour event. The site for the Mercury Transit Webcast: Hawaiian Style is set to offer views with a variety of instruments.

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