Astronomy Club to offer viewing of rare daytime astronomical event

Mercury will pass in front of the sun and create what will appear as a black dot moving across the enormous star beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

The Fort Hays State University Astronomy Club will sponsor a public viewing of the Transit of Mercury from 1 to 5 p.m. on the roof of Tomanek Hall on the FHSU campus. Dr. Ken Trantham, assistant professor of physics and FHSU Astronomy Club sponsor, will also broadcast the event through a live Web cast.

"We won't see any visual changes in lighting and shadows when we walk outside," said Dr. Paul Adams, professor of physics. "In fact, Mercury is so small that it will be impossible to see with the naked eye. We will provide visitors with a telescope equipped with a solar filter, which blocks nearly 99 percent of sunlight."

The last time this event occurred in the Hays area was in 2003, and 2016 is the next time it can be seen again.

"It's impressive to actually witness Mercury moving across the sun from one edge to the other," said Adams. "This is a rare event; you won't want to miss it."

For more information, contact Adams, at (785) 628-4538. To witness the event via live Web cast, visit

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Kent Steward, Director   |  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |