UT invites public to view Mercury transit event

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee Department of Physics and Astronomy is hoping you will join them in staring at the sun, with special telescope filters and their help of course, on Monday.

On Nov. 11, Mercury will pass between the Earth and the sun in what is called a transit. The department will be hosting a public viewing of the transit from 7:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on the roof of the Alvin H. Nielsen Physics Building on “The Hill” across from Ayres Hall.

Mercury can be seen through specially filtered telescopes during the passage of the planet that orbits nearest the sun. The entire transit will last about 5-and-a-half hours.

To see Mercury as it crosses the disc of the sun, you need a telescope with a proper solar white light filter and 50-100 power, according to eclipse expert Fred Espenak.

The last time Mercury completed a transit was May 9, 2016.

Parking is available in Volunteer Hall parking garage on White Avenue. Some handicapped parking is available in front of Nielsen Physics Building. For more information call 865-974-9601.

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