Mercury Transit 2019: A rare astronomical spectacle to world

By Dheeshma Puzhakkal  Published on  10 Nov 2019 3:48 PM GMT
Mercury Transit 2019: A rare astronomical spectacle to world

Hyderabad: In a rare astronomical spectacle event, the planet Mercury crossed between the Earth and the Sun on Monday, November 11, 2019, at 8:52 pm Indian Standard Time (IST). The astronomical phenomena called ‘Transit of Mercury’ was witnessed by the world on yesterday night. However, this transit was not visible from India.

Official report from Planetary Society, India said, “The transit journey of five hours occurred after sunset in India. Hence Mercury’s move across sun was not observable from India. However, places in India where Sun sets after 6.05 pm was able to experience the first minute of Mercury Transit journey.”

The last time Mercury transit occurred was on May 9, 2019, and the event was observable from India. The next event will occur on November 13, 2023. This is a rare astronomical spectacle.

What is Transit of Mercury?

Transit of Mercury occurs when the planet is between the Earth and Sun and is crossing through the Earth's orbital plane. At this time, Mercury can be seen as a small black disk slowly moving in front of the Sun.

Only Venus and Mercury transits possible

In the solar system, Mercury and Venus are the only two planets that can produce a transit observable from Earth. This is because the orbits of Mercury and Venus during their revolution around the Sun lie inside Earth's orbit

A rare phenomenon indeed

Transit of Mercury occurs 13 times in 100 years as it travels across the face of the Sun, coming between Earth and Sun, whereas Venus transit occurs once in 105.5 years to 121.5 years.

“Mercury is too small to be seen without magnification. A telescope fitted with a safe solar filter will be required to see the tiny disk of Mercury crawling across the face of the Sun,” said official sources from Planetary Society, India, who added that this transit would not be visible in India.

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