Friends of the Zeiss                                    

P.O. Box 1041                                                                   

Pittsburgh PA 15230-1041 U.S.A.

Telephone: 412-561-7876

Electronic Mail: < >

Internet Web Site: < >

Blog Site: < >


                       NEWS RELEASE


For immediate release: 2016 April 14

For more information -- Glenn A. Walsh:

                     E-Mail < >

                     Telephone 412-561-7876


                                                                May 9 -




Pittsburgh, April 14 – The stars and planets appear to move above us like clock-work each year. And, from time-to-time, the sky becomes even more interesting when there is an eclipse or the sighting of a new comet.

However, there is one astronomical event that is somewhat rare and only occurs 14 times this century.

Monday Morning and early Afternoon, May 9, people in North America will have the chance to witness this special event—the Transit of the Planet Mercury moving directly in front of the Sun. Safe public viewing of this rare astronomical event will be offered, free-of-charge, at the Mount Lebanon Public Library, 16 Castle Shannon Boulevard, near Washington Road in Pittsburgh's South Hills.

A live, Internet web-cast of the event will be shown in Conference Room A on the Library’s Lower Level. If outdoor observation conditions are optimum, we may try to also observe the event using a 4-inch refractor telescope.

The Mount Lebanon Public Library is located at the southern end of Mount Lebanon's “Uptown” Washington Road business district, about three blocks south of the Port Authority's Mount Lebanon “T” Light Rail Transit Station.  Free-of-charge public parking is available at the Library.

A solar transit of a planet is when the planet can be seen (using safe solar viewing techniques) in the daytime as it moves in front of, and across, the image of the surface of the Sun. The planets Mercury and Venus are the only planets that can be seen transiting the Sun from the Earth, as these are the only planets closer to the Sun than Earth.

A solar transit of the planet Mercury occurs from time-to-time, but is fairly rare and difficult to see due to the small size of Mercury. A solar transit of the planet Venus is extremely rare, as it only happens twice, each spaced eight years apart, during a period of more than a century ! Indeed, only eight such events have occurred since the 1609 invention of the astronomical telescope (1631, 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882, 2004, and 2012).

The two last solar transits of Venus occurred on 2004 June 8 and 2012 June 5. Friends of the Zeiss provided the only public observing event of the 2004 Transit of Venus in the City of Pittsburgh, in cooperation with the The Duquesne Incline, using several telescopes.

For the 2012 event, we also had telescopes available for public viewing at the Mount Lebanon Public Library. Regrettably, we were not able to use the telescopes during the 2012 event due to cloud cover, but the public still saw the event via a live Internet web-cast in the Library Conference Room.

On May 9, the complete Transit of Mercury, from one side of the Sun to the other, will take almost exactly seven and one-half hours. Although the event actually begins at 7:12:19 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT), Library coverage of the event will begin upon the Library’s opening that morning at 9:00. Library coverage of the event will continue until the event’s conclusion at 2:42:26 p.m. EDT.

This free-of-charge event is co-sponsored by Friends of the Zeiss and the Mount Lebanon Public Library.

If we are able to use a telescope for viewing this event, we will project the image of the Solar Transit of Mercury onto a portable movie screen, for safe viewing. Observing the Sun with a telescope, binoculars, or any other type of optical device should only be attempted by people who have received the proper training and possess the proper equipment to do so safely.

Observing the Solar Transit of Mercury, at the Mount Lebanon Public Library, will be supervised by former Buhl Planetarium Astronomical Observatory Coordinator and Planetarium Lecturer Glenn A. Walsh.

NEVER look directly at the Sun, a solar eclipse, or a solar transit of a planet with a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device unless you have the special training and special equipment to do so safely. Otherwise, this would cause PERMANENT BLINDNESS INSTANTLY !

NEVER look directly at the Sun or a solar eclipse with your unaided eye. This could cause MAJOR EYE DAMAGE and POSSIBLE BLINDNESS !  Eye damage can occur rapidly, without any pain, since there are no nerves in the eyes.

For further questions about safely viewing the Solar Transit of Mercury, send an electronic mail message to: < > or telephone 412-561-7876.

Friends of the Zeiss is a fourteen-year-old, non-profit organization with the mission to promote Astronomy, Space Sciences, and related sciences to the general public through Internet web sites and a blog, as well as public observing sessions of special astronomical events. This organization also promotes the history and preservation of the historic equipment, artifacts, and building of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, including the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector (prior to 2002 dismantling, oldest operable major planetarium projector in the world !) and the fairly unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope. More information:              < > or 412-561-7876.


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2016: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Observatory Historic 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.

Return to History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

Transit of Mercury - News Release: 2016 April 14

PittsburghFree.Net Authored By Glenn A. Walsh *** Sponsored By Friends of the Zeiss
Electronic Mail: < > *** Internet Web Site Cover Page: < >
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News: Astronomy, Space, Science: SpaceWatchtower Blog
2016 April

NEWS: Planetarium, Astronomy, Space, and Other Sciences

See an Unexplained Object in the Sky ?
Have a Question About Astronomy or Other Sciences?
Ask an Expert from Friends of the Zeiss !

Internet Web Site Master Index for the History of
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

Other Internet Web Sites of Interest

History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

History of Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago

Astronomer, Educator, and Telescope Maker John A. Brashear

History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries

Mount Lebanon Public Library, South Hills, Pittsburgh

Historic Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh

Disclaimer Statement: This Internet Web Site is not affiliated with the Andrew Carnegie Free Library,
Ninth Pennsylvania Reserves Civil War Reenactment Group, Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory,
The Carnegie Science Center, The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Institute, or The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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