Local astronomy buffs turn out to see Mercury transit the sun

Local astronomy buffs turn out to see Mercury transit the sun

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A rare astronomical event occurred on May 9 — when the planet Mercury orbited between the earth and sun — bringing out a group of Southern Cross “Astros” to Miami Dade College’s Kendall Campus soccer field with their high-tech telescopes.

For five hours during midday, the windy and partly cloudy weather provided perfect viewing of the tiny planet as it slowly cruised across a gigantic solar surface for more than two dozen family visitors with children.

Joining Astros Sergio Figuera, Jim Rose and Boris Ortiz was Dr. Mike McGauley, professor of Meteorology and Astronomy at Miami Dade College, along with SCAS members Tim Schepis, Barb Yager, Ed DeMateo, Nick Stingone and daughter, Ashley.

SCAS president Lester Shalloway, MD, said the next Mercury transit across the Sun will take place Nov. 11, 2019 but after that, will not occur until 30 years later. Dr. Shalloway focused his solarscope on the transit from the grounds of his medical office at 10095 SW 88 St. in Kendall.

SCAS provides free public star viewing through high-tech telescopes at Miami-Dade County’s Bill Sadowski Park, 17555 SW 79 Ave. in Palmetto Bay, Saturday evenings, 8-10 p.m., weather permitting. For weather updates, leave message on SCAS hot-line at 305-661-1375.

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