The Texas Astronomical Society and Women in Physics student organization at The University of Texas at Dallas will set up solar telescopes with special filters so the public can safely view Mercury as it transits the sun on Nov. 8.
Mercury’s tiny orbit keeps it so close to the sun that it's tough to observe, said Faranak Zarnani, a Women in Physics member. Every few years, however, its orbit aligns with Earth’s, making it easier to see the planet silently gliding in silhouette across the Sun’s face.
“We’re looking forward to viewing the transit and sharing this experience with the public,” Zarnani said.
The astronomical event, which won’t happen again until 2016, will begin at 1:12 p.m. and still be in progress at sunset. Viewing from the field next to UT Dallas’ Classroom Building West, on Rutford Avenue north of Drive A, is free. For additional details, contact Zarnani at 214-995-7947 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.