Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mercury transit

In honor of my birthday, the planet Mercury will be passing in front of the sun tomorrow, and its transit will be visible from the US. Of course, Mercury is only 1/194th the size of the sun, and you'll burn your eyes out before you manage to see it without special gear, so it's a bit of a non-event as far as being able to go outside and take a gander at the spectacle. There are, however, plenty of websites that will offer near-real-time webcasts of the event. Here's a link to one:

Some of the transit facts from the NYTimes article:
Mercury's five-hour trek starts at 2:12 p.m. EST. People in Western time zones of the United States should be able to see the entire trip.
The last ''transit of Mercury,'' as it's called, was in 2003. These events occur about 13 times a century, with the next one happening in 2016, according to
That's more frequent than the transit of Venus, which happens in pairs, roughly twice in each century. (The next one is 2012).
Because of the timing of this year's transit of Mercury, it will be visible in North and South America, Australia and Asia, but not in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India, where it will be nighttime.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! May all your troubles be little ones...No, wait that didn't come out right.


Anonymous said...

I need to check the blog more often! I missed the message to look for Mercury while I was on travel.