Did you see the Mercury transit?

Posted at 12:09 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 12:09:44-04

WEST MICHIGAN — While the astronomical event known as the Mercury Transit was technically visible for a period this morning (in West Michigan ), looking at it was not possible without protective eye-wear and a clear sky. What is the Mercury Transit? Similar to an eclipse with the planet Mercury coming in between the Sun and Earth.

Only two planets in our galaxy can transit the sun…at least from the perspective of Earth. Mercury and Venus, since each one lies between us and our sun. A Mercury Transit occurs (on average) about every eight years, or about 13 times a century. The last Mercury Transit occurred in 2006 and the next one will occur in 2019.

It’s interesting to note that Mercury is the smallest planet in our galaxy, it’s also closest to the sun, and it takes 88 days to orbit the sun. Recall that Earth takes 365 days to orbit the same sun …simply because our orbit is far greater around the sun than that of Mercury.

The black dot visible in the image attached to this story is actually Mercury sliding across the bottom portion of the Sun disk. In Grand Rapids the Transit is visible from 10:25 AM through 2:44 PM. MAKE SURE TO HAVE PROTECTION GEAR IF YOU PLAN ON TRYING TO SEE IT.

If you’d like more information on the Mercury Transit, click here.

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