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Contact: John Kelly, 207-288-8703
The National Park Service will host a viewing party to observe the transit of Mercury across the sun on Monday, May 9, from 7 am to 3 pm in the Hulls Cove Visitor Center parking lot. Park rangers and astronomers from Acadia Astronomical Society will provide telescopes with solar filters to allow visitors to safely witness this rare astronomical event. Because of Mercury's relatively small size, its journey across the sun will take more than 7 hours so visitors are welcome to stop in any time during the event.
"Observing astronomical phenomena, such as the transit of Mercury, helps connect people to our place in the solar system," said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. "Day or night, Acadia's sky is an important resource, and we hope that programs like this will help visitors better understand and appreciate it."
Mercury and Venus are the only planets that pass directly between Earth and the sun. Although much more common than transits of Venus, transits of Mercury will occur only 14 times in this century and not all of these are visible from North America. The last transit of Mercury occurred ten years ago, and, after next Monday, the next one visible from the Eastern United States will be in November 2019.Acadia National Park has long been a premiere destination for night sky observing and will welcome night sky enthusiasts for the 8th Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival this September 22–25.