Mercury Transit – 11 November 2019

The planet Mercury transited across the face of the Sun over a 5.5 hour period as seen from Earth on 11 November 2019. According to NASA, transits of Mercury occur only about 13 times per century. The views below were taken during the first half of the transit from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Cloudy skies interfered with the first half of the transit, then rain obscured the last half. The smoky appearance of the Sun in some of the images is due to shooting through thin clouds passing by. No sunspots were evident during the transit. Some facts about Mercury from NASA are presented between the images.

Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system—only slightly larger than Earth’s Moon.

From the surface of Mercury, the Sun would appear more than three times as large as it does when viewed from Earth, and the sunlight would be as much as seven times brighter.

One day on Mercury (the time it takes for Mercury to rotate or spin once with respect to the stars) takes 59 Earth days. One day-night cycle on Mercury takes 175.97 Earth days. Mercury makes a complete orbit around the Sun (a year in Mercury time) in just 88 Earth days.

No evidence for life has been found on Mercury. Daytime Temperatures can reach 430 degrees Celsius (800 degrees Fahrenheit) and drop to -180 degrees Celsius (-290 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. It is unlikely life (as we know it) could survive on this planet.

Despite its proximity to the Sun, Mercury is not the hottest planet in our solar system – that title belongs to nearby Venus, thanks to its dense atmosphere.

Mercury’s surface resembles that of Earth’s moon, scarred by many impact craters resulting from collisions with meteoroids and comets.

Mercury facts from NASA Science: Solar System Exploration

Categories: Astrophotography

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