November 8, 2006

Observatory Opens for Rare Planetary Event

Mercury, the planet nearest the sun, will be visible in the western United States as it crosses in front of the sun at approximately 11:12 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8. Western Nevada Community College's Jack C. Davis Observatory will be open for public viewing of this natural planetary occurrence, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

"This event takes place approximately 13 times each century, so come, be a participant and observe our solar system in action," said Robert Collier, WNCC professor and observatory director. "The last time Mercury transited the sun was in 2003."

Members of the public and students will be able to view the entire event inside the observatory on a 42-inch plasma screen or via several telescopes on the observation deck. Western Nevada Astronomical Society volunteers will also operate a solar telescope that will enable visitors to view solar prominences along the edge of the sun. Prominences are towering loops and sheets of glowing gas being ejected from beneath the sun's photosphere out into the corona of the sun.

Press Release: November 2, 2006

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Carson City, NV 89703
Phone: 775-445-3234
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E-mail: info_desk@wnc.edu


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