RIT Observatory holds open house May 9
Event is free and open to the public
The Rochester Institute of Technology Observatory will host a daytime open house to watch the planet Mercury pass in front of the sun.
The observatory, located at 645 John St., will be open to the RIT community and the public from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on May 9 to coincide with Mercury’s seven-hour transit of the sun.
The planet will reach the middle of the sun by 10:57 a.m. EST. Visitors to the observatory can view this event safely through telescopes with special filters.
The transit of Mercury happens about 13 times a century, and last occurred in 2006, according to a NASA news release. Astronomers searching for planets outside of our solar system look for similar events in other stellar systems, when orbiting bodies transit or cross in front of a star and dim its brightness for a few hours. Scientists can determine the planet’s size and orbit, estimate its temperature and gain clues to the planet’s ability to support life.
“The current craze for exoplanet discoveries via the transit method will make this event more compelling than it would have been 25 years ago,” said Michael Richmond, director of the observatory and professor in RIT’s School of Physics and Astronomy. “Visitors can see the challenges astronomers face when we try to detect Earth-sized planets around other stars in this manner.”
For more information—and to check for a weather-related cancellation—go to the RIT Observatory website at www.rit.edu/cos/observatory/.
April 25, 2019
High school students publish paper with RIT scientists analyzing rare bacterium
Three high school students working in a science lab for the first time made a surprising discovery with an RIT professor. Now, the young women are co-authors on a scientific paper announcing a rare bacterium that kills e-coli.
April 24, 2019
NASA announces funding for RIT professor to develop novel diffractive solar sails
Scientists have been floating designs for solar sails to propel spacecraft for decades, but a new approach being developed by an RIT professor could be the key to helping spacecraft photograph the poles of the sun for the first time.
April 23, 2019
RIT researchers help conduct experiment to study how the first stars and galaxies formed
While many people flock to warm destinations for spring break, two RIT experimental cosmologists spent theirs 6,800 feet high on snow-covered Kitt Peak at the Arizona Radio Observatory. They were deploying an instrument to a 12-meter telescope for a project called the Tomographic Ionized-carbon Mapping Experiment (TIME), which aims to study the universe’s first stars and galaxies.
April 23, 2019
Drones are coming soon to a farm near you
Drones are adding a new level of precision to agriculture, giving farmers digital tools for cultivating better and more profitable crops.