Hyde Memorial Observatory on the south side of Holmes Lake will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, May 9 for Mercury's passage, or transit across the face of the sun. Mercury passes the sun only about 13 times each century. The last occurrence in 2006 was not visible from Lincoln.
From Earth, the only transits that can be viewed are those of Mercury and Venus because those two plants orbit closer than Earth than the sun. Mercury appears about 1/158th the size of the sun, so a telescope is needed to view the transit. However, telescopes used to look at the sun must be equipped with special filtration. Looking at the sun through a telescope without a proper filter will cause blindness, and binoculars should never be used. The Observatory will have special solar telescopes and viewing equipment available to the public, and expert volunteers will help the public safely view the event.
Hyde Memorial Observatory is operated by the City Parks and Recreation Department. For more information, call 402-441-7094 or visit parks.lincoln.ne.gov (search: hyde).