Transit of Mercury 2019

Composite image of May 9, 2016 Mercury Transit captured by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Mercury will pass in front of the Sun on November 11, 2019, allowing the planet’s silhouette to be observed with solar telescopes.

UPEI Physics will set up its solar telescopes along the Victoria Park boardwalk, near the cannons and across from the Kiwanis Dairy Bar. Everyone is welcome to stop by to get a glimpse of Mercury crossing the Sun’s face.

The location for our transit event will be the Victoria Park boardwalk near the cannons and the Kiwanis Dairy Bar (roughly marked with an X in the image above). Image is a screenshot from Google Maps.

The last Mercury transit visible from PEI in May 2016 was a blustery, partially cloudy day that made it tricky to see the planet. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this year, as there won’t be another Mercury transit visible from Charlottetown until 2049.

The sky above Charlottetown for the last Mercury transit May 9, 2016. It was 5 degrees Celsius with 60km/h wind gusts. A few hardy visitors managed to get glimpses of Mercury between breaks in the clouds.

November 2019 Public Viewing – CANCELLED

UPDATE (3:45pm Nov 2): Tonight’s viewing unfortunately has to be cancelled due to illness. We apologize for any inconvenience.

We are holding a special Mercury transit event on November 11 and have a regular nighttime viewing scheduled next for December 14.
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Our next public event will take place from 7:30-9:30 pm on Saturday, November 2 (weather permitting). Everyone is welcome to drop by to have a look through our telescope.

The meeting spot for this event is room 417 of Memorial Hall (get directions and parking information). Depending on how many people are attending, you may have to wait a bit for your turn to go up to the telescope.

To access the observatory, it is necessary to be able to climb a set of stairs over one storey in height.

If the sky is cloudy on the night of the event, the viewing may have to be cancelled. This post will be updated if there are any changes to the event status.

International Observe the Moon Night 2019


We will be participating in International Observe the Moon Night 2019 by holding a Moon-themed viewing at our observatory. Our event will take place from 7:30-9:30 pm on Saturday, October 5 (weather permitting). Everyone is welcome to drop by to have a look at the Moon through our telescope and to learn about our natural satellite.

The meeting spot for this event is room 417 of Memorial Hall (get directions and parking information). Depending on how many people are attending, you may have to wait a bit for your turn to go up to the telescope, but there will be activities and information related to the Moon available during the wait.

To access the observatory, it is necessary to be able to climb a set of stairs over one storey in height.

If the sky is cloudy on the night of the event, the viewing may have to be cancelled. This post will be updated if there are any changes to the event status.

September 2019 Public Viewing

Our next public viewing is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, September 21, from 8:30-10:00 pm, provided that the sky is clear. If the event has to be cancelled due to weather, this post will be updated.

Our observatory is on the rooftop of UPEI’s Memorial Hall, but we ask that you come first to room 417 to wait for your turn to go up to the telescope (find information on finding Memorial Hall and where to park on campus here).

All ages are welcome at this event. It is necessary to climb a flight of stairs to reach the telescope, but the elevator can be taken up to the 4th floor waiting room.

We will be holding other public viewings this fall, tentatively booked on the following dates: October 5, November 2, November 30, and December 14.

Solar Viewings for Summer 2019

Since sunsets are so late in the evening around the June solstice, we are once again switching our public telescope viewing sessions over from nighttime to daytime for the summer months. We’ll set up one or two of our solar telescopes and view the features of Sun (safely!) in the hydrogen alpha wavelength or in white light.

A composite view of the Sun, shown in (red) hydrogen-alpha light on the left and in white light (all colours) on the right. The hydrogen-alpha light shows the Sun’s chromosphere, whereas the white light shows the photosphere.
Image by Alan Friedman; retrieved from Sky & Telescope
UPEI Department of Physics’ hydrogen-alpha telescope.

Viewings will be held every 2nd Wednesday from 12:30-1:30 pm on the following dates:

  • June 5 (CANCELLED due to weather)
  • June 19
  • July 3 (CANCELLED due to cloudy sky)
  • July 17 (CANCELLED due to cloudy sky)
  • July 31
  • August 14: special time: 1:30-2:30pm
  • August 28

The viewings are weather-dependent – if the sky is completely clouded over so that we can’t see the Sun, we’ll have to cancel the viewing or postpone it. This post will be edited with updates on the viewings as needed. (If the weather behaves in its typical fashion, about half of our scheduled viewings will be cancelled due to cloudy weather.)

Solar viewings will be held outside the Engineering and Physics building.

All viewings will be held outside the Engineering and Physics building entrance (building #30 on the campus map). The viewing will be at ground level, so it will be accessible to anyone with mobility issues. Parking is available in lots adjacent to the building (shown on the map below) and there is no charge for parking in these lots during the summer semester.

The solar viewings will be outside the entrance of the Engineering and Physics building (indicated by an orange star on the map). Parking is available in UPEI Lots D & E and the MacLauchlan Arena lot.