See rare celestial event at Western Nevada College’s observatory

Western Nevada College is offering the community the opportunity to witness a rare celestial event on Monday, May 9.

From sunrise, about 5:50 a.m., to noon, the planet Mercury will transit across the sun, passing between Earth and the sun.

Visitors to the Jack C. Davis Observatory on the Carson City Campus will be able to safely experience the entire event, according to Dr. Tom Herring, a WNC physicist and director of the observatory.

“Because it is unsafe to look directly at the sun, we will have staff on hand to show views through several filtered telescopes,” Herring said. “We will have video from the observatory’s own solar scope and/or NASA sites. Even if the weather is cloudy we will show video from NASA or other sites where the event can be seen.”

By the time the sun comes up that day, the transit will be under way, but it will last until 11:42 a.m.

The next Mercury transits will be Nov. 11, 2019, and Nov. 13, 2032. The 2032 event will offer good views in Carson City. The 2019 event will occur mostly at night in the Western U.S.


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