Since November 8th, 2006 we haven’t seen you. This coming Monday the 9th of May you will be visible to us again from about 0730-1430. Got my scope, filter (well the first one was too small, so I had to order another larger one, and it should be here today). The folks at High Point Scientific are awesome! I told them I want to see the transit so they made sure to order it and get it to me in time- great folks! I’m planning to take the day off from work to view/photograph and sketch the transit. I’m also planning on keeping the kids home as well. They will probably learn much more than what they will in school that day. They already know a lot about Mercury and over this next weekend we’ll focus more on the little planet. They really enjoy the challenge and learning. Plus a day off and spend it learning outside relaxing- now what to eat during this “party”. We will be spending time at the Holly Dome as well. The dome will be doing the photos while my scope does the viewing and sketching (the kids and I will do the sketching).
Now the important aspect of the whole event, will the weather cooperate? Sun, Mercury, and Earth can all be lined up, but if the clouds don’t give way, well there’s 2019. We’ve had terrible weather thus far (since buying my scope). Only 2 viewing nights. So hopefully the weather breaks Sunday night.
A transit is the passage of a planet across the Sun’s bright disk. At this time, the planet can be seen as a small black disk slowly moving in front of the Sun. The orbits of Mercury and Venus lie inside Earth’s orbit, so they are the only planets which can pass between Earth and Sun to produce a transit. Transits are very rare astronomical events. In the case of Mercury, there are on average thirteen transits each century. A transit of Mercury occurs only if the planet is in inferior conjunction with the Sun (between Earth and Sun) and is also crossing the through Earth’s orbital plane (the Ecliptic). During the present period in Earth’s history, Mercury’s orbit crosses Earth’s orbital plane in early May and early November each year. If the Mercury is passing between the Earth and Sun at that time, a transit will be seen.
During the seven century period 1601 CE to 2300 CE1, Earth experiences 94 transits of Mercury across the Sun. Looking at this chart, I have only 7 more transits until I transit into the afterlife. Really puts into perspective how rare this event is.
Well that’s all for now-