Monday, May 9, 2016

May 2016 Transist of Mercury

The skies cleared and the winds calmed down in time to capture a rare event: the transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun. Mercury is the dot just right of lower center. The other major spot (upper center is the sunspot group AR 2542. Taken with a Celestron 8iSE (8 inch scope) with a 5 inch Baader filter (white light only) and a Canon t2i camera at prime focus.

Closeup of Mercury:

Mercury as it approaches the edge of the Sun near the end of its transit:

Mercury at "Third Contact"

Mercury about halfway between Third and Fourth Contact with the edge of the Sun

A transit of Mercury across the Sun takes place when the planet Mercury comes between the Sun and the Earth, and Mercury is seen as a small black dot moving across the face of the Sun.
Transits of Mercury with respect to Earth are much more frequent than transits of Venus, with about 13 or 14 per century, in part because Mercury is closer to the Sun and orbits it more rapidly.
Transits of Mercury occur in May or November. The last four transits occurred in 1999, 2003, 2006, and May 9, 2016. The next will occur on November 11, 2019

Here is a collage of the images I took of the event:

Here is the video of the last few minutes of the event:


  1. Very nice Rich - Connie-Niagara

  2. Amazing photography! It must be quite a chore to see that small shadow in spite of the glaring light of the sun. Your camera aperture must have been closed way down, or the filter brought the light down to where you could see the transit. A combination of both?