UT Hosts Solar Viewing Session

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee is hosting a free public viewing Nov. 15 of a “mini-solar eclipse” caused by the planet Mercury moving between Earth and the sun.

Paul Lewis, head of community outreach for UT-Knoxville’s Physics and Astronomy Department, said the viewing will be held 3-6 p.m. at Borders bookstore near West Town Mall on Morrell Road. For directions, call Borders at 865-769-4084.

Lewis said Mercury moves between Earth and the sun about 12 times a century, but because of the angle of its orbit, this movement or “transit” across the sun often is barely visible.

However, Mercury now is moving almost directly in front of the sun, providing a spectacular view that is not expected to occur again until the year 2391, he said.

Special, filtered telescopes will be provided Monday by UT. Other types of solar events such as sunspots, prominences, filaments and flares also will be visible.

Lewis said viewing the sun or solar events such as these should never be attempted without special training and proper equipment.

For more information, contact Lewis at 974-7815.