Transit of Mercury

Following on from the fantastic transit of Venus (where Venus passed across the disc of the Sun) back in 2004, we will shortly get to see the transit of Mercury. The transit occurs between 19:12 UT and 00:10 UT on Wednesday 8th November (put your mouse over the times to get them converted to your local time zone). Ian points out that this is early in the morning of the 9th November for those in New Zealand, Australia, Japan etc. From the times, you may have already worked out that Europe, Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia will not get to see it; we'll be facing the wrong way at the time of the transit.

I will point out here that you should NEVER stare directly at the Sun or you are very likely to seriously damage your eyesight in a permanent way. However, if you are going to observe safely you will need a proper solar telescope or a helioscope. Alternatively, if you are on the wrong side of the planet (or clouded out!) watch the Exploratorium's live webcast from Kitt Peak Observatory.

Transit of Mercury
Global visibility of the 2006 transit of Mercury CREDIT: Fred Espenak/NASA

PlanetQuest have a podcast episode about the transit (MP3).

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Monday 06th Nov 2006 (19:33 GMT) | Permalink
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