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Mercury Transit 2016
09/May/2016
On 9th of May occurred a Transit of Mercury
This year, a transit of Mercury occurred on the 9th of May. Here at ESAC, the event was used as an important educational tool as well as allowing everyone on-site to witness the phenomenon for themselves. Some astronomy enthusiasts here at ESAC organized a campaign to observe and record the Mercury Transit 2016 from two separate locations: the Teide observatory in Tenerife, Spain, and a twin portable telescope set-up at Cerro Paranal, Chile, the home of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Both teams were equipped with a twin set of telescopes, observing at two different light frequencies. The dual observations are done in the framework of ESA and the CESAR educational project (Cooperation through Education in Science and Astronomy Research).
 

Picture of the Transit from Paranal, Chile
 
During the event there was a Google Hangout with presentations in Spanish and English from different locations: ESAC and Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciènces (CAC) in Valencia, in Spain, and the Santiago Observatory in Chile. Hangout topics included the Sun, Mercury, and the ESA missions BepiColombo, Solar Orbiter and –of course- the transit itself. During the event our experts answered several questions from our twitter hashtag: #mt2016cesar and the live streaming on youtube (link 1 and link 2) had more than 120.000 views!!


The event at ESAC

A Transit of Mercury in front of the solar disk, as seen from Earth, is a relatively rare astronomical event. Mercury transits occur approximately 13 to 14 times per century, always in May or November. Beside the scientific importance of transits, a Mercury Transit is also a spectacular astronomical event well worth observing. The main goal of this experiment is to observe and document this special astronomical event and later allow students to use the data for a CESAR educational exercise. You can find the Sun images here.

Below you can see more photos: 


Abel De Burgos in Tenerife, Spain


The observation in Tenerife, Spain


The observation in Paranal, Chile


Miguel Pérez and Manuel Castillo in Paranal, Chile


CESAR team at ESAC

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