Cambridge Astronomical Association
Cambridge Young Astronomers



Transit of Mercury
Monday 11th November 2019
Start time : 12:30

Speaker : CAA

The CAA, in collaboration with both the Institute of Astronomy and the Cambridge University Astronomical Society will be staging an afternoon of observing to try to catch the planet Mercury in the act of transiting across the face of the Sun.

This is a fairly uncommon happening, and the next chance to see it is predicted to be in 2032 so if you are interested do come along and we will try to show you the event, and talk all about it.

Members of the public will be invited along as well and there will be children amougnst them all keen to have a peek, and we will of course encourage this, but it does also mean that even checked equipment should not be left unattended, and we need to be vigilant.


12:00 Setup

We will be gathering in preparation for the event from noon and setting up our instruments - and if you are planning to join us and bring your own then please read the note at the bottom.

12:30 - Transit starts

The transit is scheduled to begin just after 12:30 UT- who will be the first to spot the planet?


There will be two lectures in the Sackler Lecture Theatre, Hoyle building.

 13:30 - Lecture

   Mercury and the search for Planet Vulcan - Paul Fellows MA FRAS

 14:30 - Lecture

   Transitting ExoPlanets. - Dr Matt Bothwell

14:30 Equipment move

At this point we will relocate instruments to the west side of the Hoyle building where the event will continue to be viewable. The Sun will have moved such that viewing from the Northumberland lawn will no longer be possible due to the trees and buildings

16:00 End

We will end the event when mercury is no longer visible which is likey to be just before 4pm


The CAA will be offering Tea/Coffee/Juice by way of refreshments. These will be in the building to the south of the Northumberland Lawn and available from 13:00 to 15:00

Observing instruments

We will have a selection of specialised - and most importantly SAFE - instruments that will make it possible to see this happening in real time using a number of different methods.

If you have your own instrument that you want to bring along then you are welcome to do so - but please note you MUST get it checked and signed off by Paul Fellows or Brian Lister and get permission to use it, because observing the Sun is dangerous unless you know exactly what you are doing, and we need to sign-off that all instruments used for this event are safe before anyone looks through them. It only takes a few moments to get it approved and could avoid a trajedy of someone losing an eye!

Note that the Sun will only be at most +20 degrees of altitude and so think about where you set up so as to keep a good view becuase of the surrounding trees and buildings.

Thanks you - and if there are any questions then please talk to Paul Fellows or Brian Lister.

smalllogo aurora

CAA 2010 Reg. Charity No. 800782 Disclaimers