The JHI observed the transit of Mercury on the 9th of May 2016. An event which won’t occur again until 2019.
JHI members including Dr Daniel Brown, and the general public got to witness the transit of Mercury. streamed to a monitor and outside of Maudland Building.
A good number of interested passers by stopping to take a look. JHI members happily answered their curious questions.
Later that day, the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute in collaboration with the UCLan and RI Young Scientist Centre held an event to discuss the phenomenon and how it relates to the discovery of planets outside our solar system.
Mercury transits are rare events that happen only a few times every century. Mercury passed in front of the Sun and it was visible as a tiny black dot on the Sun’s surface. Similar events happen in distant extrasolar planetary systems. In fact such events are used by astronomers to discover new planets.
Dr Alex Dunhill and Dr Dimitris Stamatellos, astrophysicists from the University of Central Lancashire, discussed the history of transit observations before the 20th century, and how astronomers observe transits in other solar systems with NASA’s space telescope KEPLER. They further elaborated on how these results constrain the theories of planet formation that are being developed at UCLAN.
An image captured halfway through it’s transit across the Sun captured with a CCD camera on the end of the JHI’s h-alpha solar telescope by Dr Daniel Brown.
A crowd scene of folk gathered around the observing setup at UCLan.
UCLan and RI Young Scientist Centre event on the discussion of the phenomenon and how it relates to the discovery of planets outside our solar system.