Campus News

Astronomers offer glimpse at rare event

UGA astronomers will be busy this month with two programs, including one that will examine the unusual event involving the planet Mercury.

The first program, scheduled for Nov. 8, will rely on good weather, but the payoff could be spectacular. Mercury will appear in a moderately rare transit that places it directly between the Earth and the sun. If the weather is clear, UGA astronomers will have telescopes with special solar filters on the Myers Quad so spectators can see the planet. The viewing is planned for 3-5 p.m.

“Do not try to view this event without proper protection for your eyes,” said Scott Shaw, astronomy professor. “Our telescopes will allow you to view the event safely.” The next such transit by Mercury will not be until May 2016.

The second program is a lecture on Nov. 10 in which professor Loris Magnani will speak on “A Pictorial History of the Arecibo Observatory.” The talk will take place at 7 p.m. in Room 202 of the Physics Building. The Arecibo Observatory is home of the world’s largest radio telescope, a giant dish a thousand feet across that has been featured in movies such as “Contact” and “Golden Eye.”