The passage of a planet across the Sun is a relatively rare occurrence for earthlings to witness. There are roughly 13 transits of Mercury every century. The Sagar School hosted a rare celestial event, from their observatory. The transit of Mercury across the sun was viewed by thousands on Monday evening until sun set, through safe solar filters fixed on a 14 inch permanently mounted Celestron telescope and 4 other telescopes.
The students of the astronomy club guided by Ajay Talwar, astronomer and school staff, efficiently managed the webcast and broadcast of the event on internet and television.
Dr Deepak Raj Singh Bisht, the officiating principal warmly welcomed the visitors which included principals, teachers and students from schools across the national capital, Gurgaon and Alwarand, their parents and members of media. All viewers expressed delight and wonder at this perfect celestial viewing.
Sharmistha Julka, Director of the school expressed her delight at the successful event, as the school facilitated this rare celestial viewing at its campus observatory to many students, friends and enthusiasts. The start of the celestial event was the First Contact between the disks of the Sun and Mercury and is also known as the ‘Ingress Exterior’. First contact occurred at approximately 4:30pm Indian Standard Time though the exact time varied with location. It took a little more than three minutes for the entire disk of Mercury to appear over the bright solar disk. The Second Contact, also known as the ‘Ingress Interior’ could not be witnessed by Indians, as they witnessed only the initial part of the transit as the sun set before the completion of the seven hour event.