Monday, May 09, 2016

Transit of Mercury Day!!

Today I will be blogging the Transit of Mercury, a less than once in a decade event.  I have been waiting for this one since the Transit of Venus in 2012.  Looks like a sunny day and reasonably clear enough skies for some viewing.

I started today with my son and my trusty work travelling solar viewer at the school parking lot. I had dozens of kids in line to look at it.

I repeatedly said, "NEVER look directly at the sun", so that none of the students would.  I asked them planet questions.  They mostly knew their planets and the correct order out to about Saturn.  Even remembered that Pluto is not a planet anymore.

I took a closeup of the sun image in the viewer around 7:35am.  Mercury's shadow is the sharp dot in the upper right of the sun.  Contrast that with the slightly larger fuzzy smudge of a sunspot more in the middle of the sun.

I have already accosted work colleagues on the way in to their offices to stop to look at the sun image in the viewer.  Here is the picture from 8:15am.

Fleet footed Mercury is racing across the sun.  Still about 6 hours to go however.

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