Dyer Observatory News

Witness Mercury Transit the Sun – Monday, May 9, 6:00am-1:30pm

Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory is pleased to partner with Radnor Lake State Natural Area on May 9, 2016 to witness a rare occurence – a transit of Mercury.

The planet Mercury will pass in front of our Sun on May 9, 2016 from approximately 6:12am CDT until 1:42pm CDT, appearing in silhouette against the illuminated solar background.  Viewers will not only get to observe the solar system’s smallest planet, but will also SAFELY observe the Sun, including solar granulation and possibly sunspots, prominences, prominences/filaments, and solar flares.  Dyer Observatory staff, volunteers, and Vanderbilt astronomy faculty and graduate students will be available to assist with viewing and answer questions.

Radnor Lake State Natural Area rangers will also be present to speak with visitors about Radnor Lake and birds of prey.  They will have a red-tailed hawk on-site from the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center.

The public is encouraged to attend – only nine Mercury transits will be visible from the Nashville area over the next 100 years. Solar telescopes will be set up in the Radnor Lake field adjacent to the Dyer Observatory entrance gate, and parking will be available on the observatory property.  Restroom facilities will be available in Dyer Observatory, and visitors are free to walk around the observatory and view the various exhibits, but the observatory will not be conducting guided tours.  Dyer Observatory’s Star Chamber will be also be open for self-guided tours.

Tickets for two-hour periods are FREE and available here.

IF THE SKY IS OVERCAST OR IT IS RAINING, THE EVENT WILL BE CANCELLED.  VIEWING WILL BE HELD IF SKIES ARE FORECAST TO BE PARTLY CLOUDY.  CHECK THE DYER HOME PAGE or FACEBOOK PAGE FOR UPDATES AND CANCELLATION NOTICES.

Open House Days & Telescope Nights

Tickets are available 30 days before each event. Please note that these events sell out quickly, so plan ahead to avoid disappointment. There are no Open House or Telescope Night dates in the months of December, January or February, for Dyer Observatory is closed. Visit our Open House Days and Telescope Nights pages for tickets and more information.

Summer Camp Registration is now Open – spots are still available

The focus of Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory’s camp is astronomy and space science. Campers learn about how scientists discover the secrets of the universe, from exotic black holes to the nature of light. During the week, campers are engaged in exciting hands-on educational science activities: launching rockets, working with and building electronics, experimenting with lasers, and working with telescopes. The camp curriculum has been created by an expert team of astronomy professors, space scientists, and area science teachers.

Camp for rising 5th and 6th Graders: June 13-17

Camp for rising 7th and 8th Graders: June 20-24

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