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Transit of Mercury May 9th, 2016

scaled down size of Sun and Mercury

scaled down size of Sun and Mercury

We will be able to see Mercury pass across the face of the Sun between 4am and noon on Monday, May 9th. There are about 13 transits of Mercury every 100 years. Mercury is one of the two planets we can see transits of, the other being Venus. Whey can’t we see transits of the other planets? Mercury and Venus are inferior planets. This means they are located between the Earth and the Sun. All the rest of the objects in our solar system except for our Moon, Venus, comets and some asteroids won’t pass between us and the Sun. The picture above  is a scale model of the Sun and Mercury.

 

 

the beginning of the eclipse through the sun funnel

the beginning of the eclipse through the sun funnel

The picture to the left is the Sun safely projected by using a “Sun Funnel“. In order to see the transit you will want a telescope with a solar filter, a sun funnel or a pair of solar viewing glasses, but if you don’t have one you may be able to see it by making a very simple pinhole projector to project the sun. Let’s hope for clear skies! Happy viewing!