Hevingham observatory to give Norfolk close up view of Knight sky
- Credit: Archant
It is a rare phenomenon that occurs only 14 times every century.
The transit of Mercury - when the planet passes in front of the sun - was last seen in 2006, 2003 and 1999 and is due to travel again very soon. And, a keen astronomer from Hevingham is offering North Norfolk News readers a close up view.
Ian Knight, 50, will be opening his observatory 'POD' for those to witness the rare one-day spectacle.
Mr Knight, who is a partner at Altair Astro in Aylsham, said: 'Back in 2004 I did the transit of Venus and set this up at Hevingham Primary School and the event was enjoyed by the children and adults as well. So, as I have been asked if they can look through the telescope, I thought I would open it up during the day for people who are passing by to pop over and enjoy the relatively rare phenomenon.
'I started my passion for astronomy when I was 13 and was totally inspired, so to do the same for others makes it all worth while.'
The observatory was invented by Wayne Parker from Canada and stands at 2.4m tall.
An advantage to using an observatory is to lessen the amount of kit you need to stargaze.
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Mr Wright added: 'The modern amateur astronomer has a lot of kit and hauling their bulky telescope and equipment in and out of the house can become extremely tedious, especially when taking into account the amount of time it takes to properly set it up. You have to balance your telescope and do polar-aligning. Having a permanent observatory eliminates this time consuming process, allowing you to take full advantage of perfect viewing conditions which may be a complete night but also could only be an hour window.'
It also provides a better picture than using a telescope inside as it shields from reflections from the glass heat from the house rising in front of the glass and telescope optics.'
The observatory will be open on May 9 and the orbit of Mercury is due to start at 11.12am and will finish at 6.42pm.
Mr Knight lives at 1 Westgate in Hevingham and asks would-be visitors to email him on email@example.com to check for space as it is limited.