Turkey to observe Mercury’s transit across Sun


The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), will organize a special event on Nov. 11 to observe a rare transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the Sun, the council said in a written statement on Thursday.

The TUBITAK National Observatory, located in Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, will bring the celestial event to the public, while the observation in Turkey will start at around 3.30 p.m. local time (1230GMT) on Nov. 11, and will end till the Sun descends to horizon, the statement said.

A live observation broadcast of a planetary transit, when Mercury passes across the Sun’s disk, will be also watched at Akdeniz University campus in Antalya, where the observatory experts will inform the participants about the rare scene, it added.

The telescope observation will be broadcasted live at https://www.youtube.com/c/TÜBİTAKUlusalGözlemevi, it said.

Turkey’s Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank invited those interested to attend the event at the university campus.

“Our eyes will be on Mercury on Monday! The fastest planet Mercury will pass between the Sun and the Earth,” Varank said on Twitter.

The passage will be fully observable in North and South America, Antarctica, West Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean.

On Nov. 11, Mercury — the planet closest to the Sun — will be at a distance of 101 million kilometers (62.7 million miles) away from the Earth, which will occur for the last time this decade.

The previous transit of Mercury was observed in May 2016, and the space enthusiasts will be able to watch the next spectacular celestial event on Nov. 13, 2032.

On average, the transit of Mercury across the Sun happens 13 times in a century.

Experts warned that only telescopes with specially manufactured solar filters must be used to observe the passage, otherwise the eye retina might be severely damaged due to looking directly at the Sun with an optical instrument, such as binoculars or telescopes without filters.

TUBITAK National Observatory, which was opened in September 1997, is located at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8202 feet), and “fills a significant gap on the map from far east to the west of Europe, since no other active observatory is located along and around the same longitude,” the council said on its website.
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