By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma City Astronomy Club is partnering with Scissortail Park to host a public viewing of a rare transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the Sun on Monday morning, November 11.
A viewing area will be set up at the Survivor Tree Lawn, 300 SW 7th Street, located on the south end of the park near Union Station beginning at 6:30 a.m. The event, happening on Veterans Day, will continue until noon.
“Mercury passes in front of the Sun approximately a dozen times each century, but the November 11 event will be the last one visible from North America until 2049,” said Mike Brake, Astronomy Club member. “The transit will already be underway when the sun rises at 7:01 a.m., will reach midpoint by about 9:20 and ends moments after noon.”
The Oklahoma City Astronomy Club provides educational opportunities to the public in the sciences and academics. It also offers opportunities to contribute valuable scientific research and data to the astronomical community, as well as opportunities for their less experienced members to grow in field of astronomy.
According to organizers, Mercury, the inner-most planet in the solar system, features a small rocky body similar to Earth’s Moon, and orbits the Sun once every 99 days. During the transit, it will appear in filtered telescopes as a small black disk moving across the face of the Sun, they stated.
Astronomy Club members will have telescopes incorporated with special solar filters available to participants which will allow safe viewing of the event. Brake cautions the public not to try to observe the sun at any time without such filters, to avoid possible permanent eye damage.
Located in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City, Scissortail Park is part of the MAPS 3 program. Park design details are intended to connect the public with nature and the community.
Located on 70 urban acres, the park features a variety of experiences, ranging from ornamental gardens and woodlands, to a lake and boathouse, children’s playground, grand promenade, water features, outdoor roller rink, an enclosed dog park, interactive fountain and more.
Designed by Hargreaves Associates, the park is also a horticultural venue made up of native prairie grasses, lush flower gardens and tree-lined walkways.
The OKC Astronomy Club meets on the second Friday evening of each month at the Science Museum Oklahoma located at 2020 Remington Place (NE 52nd Street and Martin Luther King Avenue). Meetings are open to the public and begin at 7 p.m.