Watch: NASA Captures Rare and Spectacular Mercury Solar Transit

Tuesday, 10 May 2016 - 11:04AM
Space
Astronomy
Space Imagery
Tuesday, 10 May 2016 - 11:04AM
Watch: NASA Captures Rare and Spectacular Mercury Solar Transit
Early yesterday morning, skywatchers had the opportunity to see a relatively rare celestial event: a Mercury solar transit. Now, NASA has an amazing time lapse of the event, which only happens 13 times per century, or a little more than once per decade:



Mercury orbits the Sun every 88 days, but as a result of Earth's particular orbit in relation to Mercury, planetary transits are very infrequent. But from 7:12 a.m. and 2:42 p.m. EDT yesterday, Mercury passed by the Sun from such an angle that is appeared as a little black dot blocking the Sun's light.

Mercury Solar Transit

Mercury was too small during the event to see with the naked eye, but it could be seen with telescopes or even binoculars. And if you missed it, NASA captured the event using three different satellites, one of which had a near-live feed, from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO. 

Mercury Solar Transit

Opening quote
"Astronomers get excited when any two things come close to each other in the heavens," NASA Goddard program manager Louis Mayo said in a statement. "This is a big deal for us."
Closing quote


Mercury Solar Transit
Science
NASA
Space
Astronomy
Space Imagery

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