On 11 November 2019, the planet Mercury will pass in front of the Sun. This Transit of Mercury will start at 2.35 pm (CAT/SAST). The half-way mark will be at 5.19 pm and Mercury will leave the Sun's disk at 8.05 pm. The start of the transit for different time zones is at 12.35 pm GMT, 1.35 WAT, 2.35 CAT, 3.35 EAT and 4.45 Mauritius & Seychelles Time. Of course, the Sun would have set before the end of the transit. How much of the transit you can see depends on when the Sun will set at your location, which will happen later for more western regions. For example, the Sun will set at 6.31 pm for Johannesburg, but only at 7.33 pm for Cape Town. For sunset timings in other parts of Africa, please see our handbook on the websites mentioned below.
Mercury is so small that the transit can only be seen using a telescope. However, looking at the Sun, even for a second, through any telescope, binoculars, lens or naked eyes will permanently damage your eyes. However, if you project the image of the Sun onto a piece of paper and look at this image, then it is perfectly safe to do so. We strongly recommend that you use only this projection method. You can also show the transit to many people at the same time, in this way.
Do you have a small telescope, know how to project the Sun's image, and have access to a public location from where the western sky can be seen clearly ? Then share the Transit of Mercury with the public by inviting the local community to come and watch this event with you. Please fill out the form below. We will mark the locations on a map which we will make publicly available, and also publicise it through the media. Join us & spread the joy of astronomy and our sense of wonder about the Universe amongst others too !
This initiative is to collect information on public events where people can see the Transit of Mercury safely. The event itself is your responsibility. If you need help or advice on how to do so, talk to us!
For more information, see https://www.africanastronomicalsociety.org/transit-of-mercury/
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This is an initiative of an informal platform of science communicators in South Africa, including SARAO, SAAO, SAASTA, and many Science Centres, Planetaria and Universities. If your organisation would like to join us, email us!
PHONE: SAAO - +27214470025