Starwatch Blog: South Taurid meteor shower peaks, rare Mercury Transit approaching


(WJHL)- This week in the sky the South Taurid meteor shower peaks. We will also see a gorgeous view of Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon early in the evenings. Next Monday, the rare Mercury Transit occurs!

The Southern Taurids meteor shower goes through early December, but peaks around the first week of November. The best viewing time is a few hours after midnight. Although there are only around five meteors per hour, these fireballs are worth the glimpse! They are bright and long-lasting meteors soaring across the sky. 

You can check out the Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter is the sky early in the evenings. Looks towards the south, southwest sky to get the perfect view. 

Mercury Transit
If you still have your solar glasses from the Solar Eclipse in 2017, get them out! The Mercury Transit is taking place on Monday, November 11, 2019. This rare event will be seen perfectly from NE Tennessee and SW Virginia! Although, we do need the weather to cooperate. As Mercury passes in between the Earth and the Sun, you’ll be able to see the tiny dot move across the sun. This celestial event begins at 7:35 a.m. and last for about five and a half hours. Mercury will be at the Sun’s center at 10:20 a.m. It is very important that correct solar filters are used to view this event. The next time the Tri-Cities will have a chance to view a Mercury transit won’t be until 2049!

Bays Mountain will be hosting a viewing session from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Park’s Observatories. This is a free event, but keep in mind the Park’s admission fee still applies. The event is weather dependent. if very cloudy, or rain, the event is cancelled. 

ETSU will also be holding a viewing session. The ETSU astronomers will have numerous telescopes with special solar filters set up on the campus of ETSU to provide the public with a safe means to view this unique astronomical event. The telescopes will be set up on an athletic field on the west side of the main ETSU campus, just north of the Center for Physical Activity. Visitors should enter campus from State of Franklin Road and can park in the large lots adjacent to the athletic field area. The transit will start just after sunrise and end early afternoon. Telescopes will be available for the public at the location above from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. to safely view the event. Please note that in the event of inclement weather or heavily overcast skies preventing the Sun to be seen, the event will be cancelled. For more information about the event contact Dr. Gary Henson at 423-439-6906 or by email at

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