Mercury transits the Sun

November 8, 2006 transit of Mercury

On November 8, 2006, it took the planet Mercury 4 hours and 54 minutes to cross in front of the Sun in a rare transit visible from North America. Mid-transit occurred at 2:41 p.m. Arizona time, and the entire transit could be viewed from here. People in the Eastern time zone only got to watch the first two hours of the transit. The apparent size of Mercury was only 10 arc-seconds, so a telescope was required to see it clearly. In contrast, the planet Venus could be easily seen with the naked eye during the transit of Venus on June 8, 2004, but you had to travel to the other side of the world to observe that event.

This was the first transit of Mercury visible from North America since the grazing transit of Mercury on November 15, 1999.

This 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. A solar filter was used over the front of the telescope.

November 8, 2006
Image by Sid Leach
Scottsdale, Arizona

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