Adler Planetarium free Transit of Mercury event
Where: Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, 312-922-7827 Outside Doane Observatory (see location below)
When: Monday, November 11, 2019 7:00 am – 12:00 pm It’s also FREE day at the Adler.
There’s a special astronomical event on the horizon: the Transit of Mercury! On November 11, Mercury will be crossing the face of the Sun as seen on Earth.
At this free event*, speak with Adler astronomers and volunteers about the transit and enjoy telescope observing through solar-filtered telescopes. You won’t want to miss this—the next Transit of Mercury won’t be visible in Chicago until 2049!
What is a Transit of Mercury?
The Transit of Mercury is when the Earth’s orbit and Mercury’s orbit line up so that Mercury appears to cross the face of the Sun as seen from Earth.
This phenomenon, a “transit,” can only occur with planets that are interior to where the viewer is. For Earth, that’s Mercury and Venus.
What time does it occur?
In the Chicagoland area, the transit will occur from sunrise (~6:37 am) to 12:04 pm CDT.
Can I use solar viewing glasses to see the Transit of Mercury?
We do not recommend purchasing solar viewing glasses to view the transit. Mercury will be too small to spot with just solar-filtered eyes. The best way to view the transit it through a properly solar-filtered telescope or properly solar-filtered binoculars.
When are the next Transits of Mercury after this one?
The next Transits of Mercury are in November, 2032 and November, 2039, but they won’t be visible from Chicago since the Sun will not be up here when these transits occur. The next one visible from Chicago isn’t until May, 2049—so if you miss this one, you won’t be able to see another one in this area for 30 years.
About Doane Observatory
Visit the largest aperture telescope available to the public in the Chicagoland area. The Doane Observatory is located east of the Adler’s main building and along the Lakefront Trail.
With its 20-inch (0.5 m) diameter mirror, the Doane can gather over 5,000 times more light than an unaided human eye, allowing you to see celestial objects like the Moon, planets, stars, and galaxies that are trillions of miles away.