Follow the Mercury Transit LIVE from NASA! Today from 7:12am-2:42pm EST, as Mercury, the smallest planet in the solar system (sorry Pluto), transits the sun!
NASA is inviting media and viewers around the world to see a relatively rare celestial event, with coverage of the Monday, May 9 transit of the sun by the planet Mercury. Media may view the event at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Agency scientists will be available at the Goddard viewing event for live media interviews from 6 to 11:30 a.m. EDT. To attend, media must contact Michelle Handleman at firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule an interview with a NASA scientist at the event, contact Claire Saravia,email@example.com.
Mercury passes between Earth and the sun only about 13 times a century, its last trek taking place in 2006. Due to its diminutive size, viewing this event safely requires a telescope or high-powered binoculars fitted with solar filters made of specially-coated glass or Mylar.
NASA is offering several avenues for the public to view the event without specialized and costly equipment, including images on NASA.gov, a one-hour NASA Television special, and social media coverage.
Mercury will appear as a small black dot as it crosses the edge of the sun and into view at 7:12 a.m. The planet will make a leisurely journey across the face of the sun, reaching mid-point at approximately 10:47 a.m., and exiting the golden disk at 2:42 p.m. The entire 7.5-hour path across the sun will be visible across the Eastern United States – with magnification and proper solar filters – while those in the West can observe the transit in progress after sunrise.
Sad, but cool, farewell to NASA’s Messenger Spacecraft today as it crashes into Mercury. Messenger left its mark both scientifically, and on Mercury!!! Info on the Messenger mission here.
To become the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, MESSENGER followed a path through the inner solar system, including one flyby of Earth, two flybys of Venus, and three flybys of Mercury. This impressive journey yielded the first return of new spacecraft data from Mercury since the Mariner 10 mission more than 30 years ago. Here you can find details about that journey, the MESSENGER spacecraft, and the instrument payload.
According to the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919, all new craters must be named after an artist, composer, or writer who was famous for more than 50 years and has been dead for more than three years. See the current list of named Mercury craters.
The name should not have any political, religious, or military significance. It is also essential that there be no other features in the Solar System with the same name, she said. For example, Ansel Adams is not eligible because there is a feature on the Moon with the name Adams (even though it was not named for Ansel). Participants can check their ideas against the list of named Solar System features and enter the name in the “Search by Feature Name” box in the upper-right corner.
A new dinosaur has been discovered and reported in the journal Naturwissenschaften (The Science of Nature, also the coolest journal name EVER). the new dino is part of the chasmosaurine family and has been given the name, Mercuriceratops. For reference, think about the well-known triceratops, but with a lot more frill. Literally, this new dino has a neck guard and head-gear like no other. The neck protrusion is large and wing-like, which is why the dinosaur was named after the ‘winged’ roman god Mercury (MERCURI-ceratops). Pretty awesome all around! News reporting and illustrations at the Daily Digest news. And the science abstract with lots of jargon that I could not understand here.
“The butterfly-shaped frill, or neck shield, of Mercuriceratops is unlike anything we have seen before,” said co-author Dr. David Evans, curator of vertebrate palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum. “Mercuriceratops shows that evolution gave rise to much greater variation in horned dinosaur headgear than we had previously suspected.”
Mercuriceratops is believed to have been around 20 feet long and would have weighed about two tons. It lived about 77 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period. Sporting a parrot-like beak and horn protrusions above its eyes, it would have been an herbivorous dinosaur.