Transit of Mercury

St Peter's School

Transit of Mercury

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On Monday pupils from all three schools at St Peter’s were able to observe the Transit of Mercury, with help from St Peter’s physics department and the York Astronomical Society.

The Transit of Mercury is a fairly rare astronomical event, where, with specialist equipment it is possible to see the silhouette of Mercury passing the face of the Sun. Mercury and Earths orbits are tilted, so although Mercury orbits the sun in just 88 days, alignments of the Earth, Mercury and the Sun are much less frequent than one might think. The transit started just after 12:30 and continued on till sunset.

The sun came out for short periods particularly during lunch time, and pupils and staff were able to see Mercury and also interesting features of the sun through specialist solar telescopes. There were lots of wow’s from pupils when they spotted the planet Mercury through the telescope eyepiece. The children had lots of questions for the visiting astronomers from YAS and were fascinated by the technology being used as well.

Enormous thanks go to the visiting YAS members who really enthused the pupils in the sphere of Astronomy and allowed us to experience a rare and spectacular event. The last transit of Mercury was in 2016 and the next one will be in 2032.