For the last time in this decade, Mercury has passed in a so-called transit from the sun – a rare opportunity to see a planet over the face of our home star. And the pictures are really something to see.
From where the Earth sits in the solar system, we only see transits of Mercury and Venus, as they are inferior planets to our own space rock.
With about 13 passes of mercury in a whole century, this is indeed a rare treat. Four of these events occurred during this decade; Now we will not get a new one until 2032. No wonder then that in South America and eastern North America a bunch of excited star gazers trained their equipment in the sun – in the two places where the transit took about 5.5 hours it could be seen in its entirety.
Luckily for those of us who failed due to inclement weather or just being in the wrong place, there are plenty of fantastic shots and photos to admire that the event is over. [1
Just a few more minutes today's #MercuryTransit ! Watch as Mercury completes its journey across the Sun through the eyes of our satellite Solar Dynamics Observatory (https://t.co/5OFdcyOFJ8). SDO always keeps an eye on the sun and therefore has an excellent view of transits like these! 🛰☀️ pic.twitter.com/QuCxZL6u1X
– NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) November 11, 2019
This photograph shows the small planet near the center of the sun, framed by a dramatic silhouette of the Washington Monument.
Notice how immaculate the face of the sun is These images – the solar activity is currently quite low and no sunspots were visible on the day of the transit.
To observe – and capture – the planet path with a telescope – you need to attach a special filter like the following ones (we should not have to tell you that the sun is never a good idea to stare at the naked eye).
– Ye Quanzhi (@Yeqzids) November 11, 2019
Transit from Mercury! Taken with my 8 "Reflector, the ZWO ASI1600MM Pro Camera and the Seymour Solar Filter. #MercuryTransit #space #astronomy #astrophotography #sun #mercury pic.twitter.com/rO9FekK5pG
– Molly Wakeling9 @ November 11, 2019
Although you need to blink a bit to see the planet, we love the pretty green effect that the welder's glass – used as a filter – has produced in this photo by the Flickr user fdecomite.
If you want to relive the whole event, Slooh has hosted a livestream, which is still available on YouTube. By the way, it might be a good way to interest your pets more for astronomy .
– Alexander (@alexanderwrob) November 11, 2019
But if you only want the best If you want to see highlights, check out this magical compilation from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Genna Duberstein. This little black dot is racing over the fiery disk of the sun – that's a whole planet. Pretty special.
For the full range of images of mercury transit, visit the NASA website here.