Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mercury Transit 2016

An interesting event for 2016 is Mercury Transit on May 9th 2016 from 11:12 until 18:42 (UTC time) which will be visible from almost anywhere, at least in partial. Mercury's transits are not so rare and happen each 3.5-16 years. the first transit was observed by Pierre Gassendi in 1631 (!).
Mercury looks much smaller against the sun, but is still visible.

To View the transit you will need special equipment. Never look directly at the sun with your eyes or with an optical device. Do not use old films, dark glasses or even welder glasses. The best method is to use special solar eclipse sunglasses. They are not expensive, buy several for family and friends and use them. You will see a small dark circle on the Sun.

Also check your local astronomy club association. The Venus transit is a major events, so many clubs will open their gates and give the public the chance to view the transit through a telescope. Even if you do have your own telescope and binoculars, don't use them since viewing the Sun requires special equipment.

It is possible to see at least part of the transit from almost anywhere on Earth. In the following map you can check which part of the transit you will see in your location. From Western Europe, South America and the US east coast you will be able to see the entire transit. From Eastern Europre, most of Asia and Africa and the US west coast you will see it partially. Australia, Indoneisa and Japan, sorry.
Mercury Transit 2016 Viewing Map
Mercury Transit 2016 Viewing Map

All the safe ways to watch the Mercury's transit are detailed in the link.

 Here is an illustration By Tomruen (wikipedia)
Mercury's Transit  illustration By Tomruen (wikipedia)
Mercury's Transit  illustration By Tomruen (wikipedia)