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Sunday, December 8, 2019

The 2019 Mercury Transit

Transits of Mercury occur more frequently than transits of Venus, but - the next Mercurian transit won't happen again, until November 13, 2032!

A transit of Mercury happens only 13-14 times per century, currently, either in May or in November. But the reasons for their occurrence - at all - rely on Keplerian orbital elements, that, is far too complex, to even begin to describe, here.

Map of where 2019 Mercury Transit was visible from.
Map of where 2019 Mercury Transit was visible from.

The last transit before the most current one occurred on May 9, 2016. A typical transit lasts several hours. I timed the 5+ hour transit of November 11th, using SkySafari 5, for Android.

The 2019 Mercury Transit imaged on an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a Celestron Eclipsmart Solar Filter and a Canon 70D. Location was from the Costa Esmeralda Panama Republic of Panama. Images by Luis Velasquez.
The 2019 Mercury Transit imaged on an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a Celestron Eclipsmart Solar Filter and a Canon 70D. Location was from the Costa Esmeralda Panama Republic of Panama. Images by Luis Velasquez.

According to that app, the transit began (from my location at Cape Cod), at 7:31:08 EST, and ended at 12:57:25 EST, with the third contact (the eastern limb of the planet making contact with Sun's Eastern limb), at 12:55:46 - a difference of 1.79 minutes. This brief interval demonstrates the small size of the planet, against the size of the Sun.


Video of the 2019 Mercury Transit through some clouds courtesy of Luis Velasquez.

Dale Alan Bryant

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