Transit of Mercury

Hydrogen-alpha imageWhite light image

November 8, 2006 transit of Mercury

The first image above shows the November 8, 2006, transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun taken through a hydrogen-alpha filter. The planet Mercury is the tiny black dot on the right side of the Sun. The large black area near the upper left edge of the Sun is a sunspot. The second image was taken through a regular solar filter, and clearlky shows the sunspot. Note that the second image of Mercury was taken earlier during 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.

The first image was taken with a ToUCam webcam on a Coronado SolarMax 60 refractor. The HandyAVI 2.0 software program was used to control the webcam. This telescope has a built-in hydrogen-alpha filter.

November 8, 2006
Image by Sid Leach
Scottsdale, Arizona

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