Range Tracking

Mercury Transit 2016

As seen from Florida — it is all about perspective after all — the planet Mercury could be seen moving across the face of the Sun on 9 May 2016. Florida was lucky enough to be positioned to see the entire event, which lasted for more than seven hours. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, having the shortest “year” of all the planets in the Solar System. Other interesting info from NASA states “Mercury’s day is 176 Earth days long and its year is 88 Earth days; that means a day on Mercury – the time from one sunrise to the next — is two Mercury years long! Viewed from Mercury, the Sun looks as much as three times as large as it does from Earth and is up to 11 times brighter!…On its sunny day side, Mercury can reach a scorching 700 K (about 800°F). But because it has virtually no atmosphere to hold in that heat, temperatures drop to about 90 K (about -300°F) at night. . . . .Mercury’s diameter is 4,880 kilometers (3,032 miles), roughly 38 percent of Earth’s diameter. Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system. For comparison: If Earth were the size of a baseball, Mercury would be the size of a golf ball.”

Below are the transit photos taken on the run at various times of the day, some taken from the parking lot at work and the last ones from my mother’s backyard. Sadly, I did not have the time today to do the transit justice. Mercury is the very dark spot. Note the various sunspots.
mercury_transit_160509_1
mercury_transit_160509_2
mercury_transit_160509_3
mercury_transit_160509_4
mercury_transit_160509_5
mercury_transit_160509_6
mercury_transit_160509_7
mercury_transit_160509_8
Here is a trick question. Which is the hottest planet in the Solar System? If you guessed Mercury you would be wrong. It is actually Venus, the second planet from the Sun! The runaway greenhouse effect on Venus traps the heat in the cloudy atmosphere boosting it past 800°F to a very warm 870°F – hot enough to melt lead!

Finally, back in 2008 I caught a previous transit of Mercury through cloudy skies. View the photos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: