Transit of Mercury in Cyprus May, 9 2016
Due to its special position the Moon a few times every year covers the Sun, that time the Solar eclipses happen. But not the Moon only can be between our planet and the Sun. Very seldom two inner planets Mercury and Venus occult of the Sun. As for the planet of Love, Venus since the last transit on June 6, 2012 the next time the Earth observers will enjoy this transit on 10–11 December 2117.
The situation is a bit different with the quickest planet. Mercury transits the Solar disc about 13 times in a century, out of which just about 4 happened in May. During May transits the planet is much closer to the Earth and looks 20% larger than during November's. Though people started to predict these transits in medieval times, it was only after the invention of telescope, that they really observed them. Next transit of Mercury will happen on May, 9 2016. During the whole year the Kition Planetarium & Observatory conducts the program "Cosmic Light Reaches Cyprus 2016". And this outstanding rare event is one of the main and most impressive astronomical phenomena, which can be observed from our Island of Love and widely celebrated in Cyprus during this program. In Cyprus the transit is visible during day, and the Observatory prepared telescopes for public. In fact on May, 9 2016 the Kition Planetarium & Observatory conducts special public program for children and adults with a talk and telescope observations of the transit of Mercury.
The first contact of the transit will occur at 14:11:29 and visitors will be able to observe the event through a big telescope with the appropriate Solar Filter. It is a powerful professional Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope with an 8 inches aperture and is probably the most powerful telescope in Cyprus used for public observations on regular base. Observers will see how a notch on the east side of Solar disk will become larger and larger and at 14:14:33 the complete black Mercury tiny disk will be visible on the solar's background. The angular size of the planet 12" is 160 time smaller than the angular size of the Sun and visually will be comparable with the size of sunspots. This size of the planet is small to be observed by naked eye. NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN WITH UNPROTECTED EYES. At 17:57 Mercury will achieve the greatest position. The event will finish after the sunset at 19:40 therefore the last phases are not visible from the Kition Planetarium & Observatory. Next transit will occur on November, 11 2019 and is visible from Cyprus.
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