Friday, May 20, 2016

KU students, faculty gather to witness Mercury in transit

KARACHI: "Aray, I instructed you to leave everything and go to the housetop, we're going to search for Mercury," said a first year Karachi University understudy to another, as they dashed up the stairs to the housetop of the Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics.

On the housetop of the ISPA, understudies and staff had accumulated to witness an uncommon cosmic occasion — the travel of Mercury, which happens once consistently. The following is planned for Nov 11, 2019 and the one after for 2032.

At 3:45pm, understudies had begun to assemble on the housetop and set up the Sky-Watcher telescope with a determination of 1,200mm. Mercury, they said, would be unmistakably recognizable at 4:15pm and would keep on being noticeable till nightfall. Numerous understudies who did not get the chance to look through the telescope utilized X-Rays, shades and exceptional goggles.

Dr M. Javed Iqbal and Prof Dr Shahid Qureshi drove the travel watch group. Dr Iqbal said that travels of Mercury were uncommon occasions which occurred no less than 13 times in a century. He added that it was conceivable to watch the travels of Mercury and Venus from Earth.

He clarified that Mercury's circle was exceptionally unusual so it brought about the planet's separation from the Sun to shift from 46 million to 70m kilometers. Amid this travel, he included, Mercury ought to be around 52 million miles sunward from Earth.

Qasid, a first year understudy, shared his energy at being available to watch the travel of Mercury. "This is an uncommon occasion and critical for us as we are rehearsing stargazers," he said. He included that as the following travels would be years after the fact, "the vast majority of the general population here today won't not associate with, so this is exceptionally unique".

Naveed, another first year understudy, said that at around 4:10pm Mercury would be nearer to the sun. He included that his class would be on the housetop till 10pm as after Mercury they had moved toward locating Venus too.

Prof Faisal Rehman, a software engineering and space science educator, said that the travel of Mercury was like the lunar overshadowing. He included that not at all like the lunar obscuration where the moon was exceptionally obvious, Mercury would show up no greater than a speck.

This travel, he clarified, was occurring following 10 to 12 years.

"Given that today we have clear skies and great climate, we will have the capacity to see Mercury for 60 minutes and a half," he said.