Transit of Mercury across the Sun’s disk

Transit of Mercury November 11, 2019

On Monday morning, November 11, 2019 the next transit of Mercury across the Sun’s disk will occur. The planet will spend over 5 – 1/2 hours silhouetted against the Sun’s disk. The transit is visible, at least in part, across North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Antarctica. For Prairie View, Texas (located an hour’s drive west-northwest of Houston, Texas), the Sun will rise with Mercury already in transit; local sunrise happens at 6:46 am (12:46 UT). Greatest transit happens at 15:19:47.7 UT (9:19 am) when the center of Mercury will be 75.9 arc seconds from the center of the Sun’s disk. More information about this transit can be obtained at the “EclipseWise” website. This will be the last transit of Mercury visible anywhere on Earth until 2032.

mt36 Image by Brian Cudnik with the Prairie View Solar Observatory’s 35-cm solar telescope, Nov. 15, 1999.

Transit of Mercury May 9, 2016

The last time Mercury crossed the Sun’s disk, we observed it from the PVAMU campus . Weather prospects were not very good so the setup to observe this was limited to a white-light solar filter equipped 4.5-inch reflector and eyepiece. Images were made afocally via smartphone. A total of 18 persons were treated to the view over the course of the day, during several short sessions which coincided with breaks in the cloud deck. This transit of Mercury was the first such event (of Mercury) in 10 years and the first planetary transit of any kind since the Venus transit of June 6, 2012. For lots more information about this event, visit http://eclipsewise.com/oh/tm2016.html.

Images from this event are presented below.

Mercury Transit 1431UT 9 May 2016 Mercury Transit 16-47-59UT 9 May 2016
2016-05-09T170053UTC_Prescott_Observatory_Arizona_8c5RHm Mercury Transit 18-36-53UT 9 May 2016