From: University of Hawaii
Posted: Friday, November 3, 2006
On the morning of November 8, the planet Mercury will pass directly in front of the sun. This rare event, called a "transit," will start at 9:12 a.m. HST and last about five hours. University of Hawaii astronomers will use special telescopes at the summits of Haleakala and Mauna Kea to transmit live images of the transit over the Internet as a "Mercury Transit Hawaiian Style" webcast.
For more information and to view the event live, go to http://astroday.net/MercTransit06.html
The webcast will include real-time images of the transit from professional and amateur astronomers in a variety of wavelengths of light, including white light, hydrogen-alpha, and calcium-K. Sets of images will also be compiled into time-lapse movies of the transit and will be updated every half hour.
The webcast is a collaboration among the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA), University of Hawaii at Hilo Physics and Astronomy Department, and the Haleakala Amateur Astronomers.
The images of the transit will be supplemented on the webcast by interviews with scientists at the IfA Manoa campus, at the Haleakala High Altitude Observatory Site and the IfA Waiakoa facility on Maui, and at the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. Scientists will include IfA astronomers Robert McLaren (associate director), Jeffrey Kuhn (associate director, Haleakala Division), Stuart Jefferies, Shadia Habbal, Bobby Bus and J. D. Armstrong; Dave Blewett, the principal scientist of NovaSol; and Chris Peterson, manager of the NASA Data Center at UH Manoa. Members of the Haleakala Amateur Astronomers, staff of the Visitor Information Station and students of University of Hawaii at Hilo will also be interviewed.
Because Mercury is so much smaller than the sun, the transit will not be visible to the naked eye. Mercury will not transit the sun again until May 2016.
The Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea.
Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaii is the state's sole public system of higher education. The UH System provides an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs on 10 campuses and through educational, training, and research centers across the state. UH enrolls more than 50,000 students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and around the world.
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