Transits of Mercury and Venus

Transit of Mercury Venus in transit across the Sun

Comparison of the Relative Sizes of Venus and Mercury

The first image above shows the transit of Mercury on November 8, 2006. The second image shows the transit of Venus on June 8, 2004. Although the two images may not be exactly the same scale, they are very close and give a good indication of the apparent size of each planet during a transit of the Sun. The apparent size of Venus is large enough that it can easily be seen with the naked eye, (but you must use a filter to protect your eyes). The reason that Venus appears larger is two fold. First, the planet Venus is larger than the planet Mercury. Second, when Venus transits the Sun it is closer to the Earth than Mercury is when Mercury transits the Sun.

The first image was taken with a Cannon EOS Digital Rebel camera on a Takahashi FS-128 refractor. The second image was taken with a ToUcam webcam on a Takahashi FS-78 refractor. The HandyAVI 2.0 software program was used to control the webcam, and it was excellent software for this purpose. Of course, a solar filter was used over the front of each telescope. Never look at the Sun with a telescope unless you have the proper filters for solar viewing.

November 8, 2006 (Mercury) and June 8, 2004 (Venus)
Images by Sid Leach
Scottsdale, Arizona

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