Rare Event of Mercury Transiting Sun Can Be seen at Public Viewing

In a Press Release from the Tulare Astronomical Association

Last night, at the Tulare Astronomical Association meeting, the group decided to hold a free public viewing of the rare Mercury transit event happening Monday morning on November 11. The Public Viewing of Planet Mercury’s Transit across the Sun will be Monday Morning between 8 AM and 10 AM at the Arthur Pursell Observatory south of Tulare.

Our solar system’s innermost planet Mercury will pass directly in front of the Sun. The passage of a planet across the face of the Sun is called a planetary transit.

As seen from Earth, only transits of Mercury and Venus are possible. Merely 13 transits of Mercury occur each century.  If you happen to miss this opportunity, you will need to wait until the year 2049, 30 years from now, to observe the next transit of Mercury that will be visible from the US.

Because Mercury is so small and far away from Earth, a telescope with a proper Sun filter is required to safely see it. The Tulare Astronomical Association is offering a free public viewing of this exceedingly rare transit through a telescope equipped with a solar filter; this special viewing will take place at the Arthur Pursell Observatory located south of Tulare.

On Monday morning, Mercury will slowly travel across the sun for five and a half hours, from 4:35 AM to 10:03 AM.  However, the first few hours of this transit occurs before sunrise in California, so Mercury will not be visible in our area until around 8 AM.

Have you ever observed Mercury through a telescope before? Have you ever seen the planet Mercury during the daytime? Have you ever observed the rare transit of Mercury moving across the Sun? Bring your family and friends, and create some lifetime memories together by enriching your lives with a new experience that is also unique, something that cannot be done on just any day, but only on very rare special occasions.

DirectionsThe Arthur Pursell Observatory (APO) is located at 9242 Ave 184 Tulare, about half way between Tulare and Tipton. Travel on HWY 99 and turn west on Ave 184; drive west about 3.4 miles on Ave 184 until you reach the signed APO entranced driveway (about 0.5 miles beyond the Road 96 intersection). Drive north on this entrance road a short distance to the APO parking area. Arrive any time between 8 AM and 10 AM.  For further information, please contact Reece Williford (559) 592-4379 or [email protected]


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