Sun-Mercury Transit of 2006

Click Image for a Movie

Every couple of years, the planet Mercury passes in front of the Sun as seen from Earth. On November 8, 2006, this event was visible from the Western hemisphere, though the full 5-hour event was only visible in its entirety from West of the Western U.S. I photographed it using my solar filter. I took images every minute from 12:13-12:20, and then every 5 minutes after that until the Sun set in Boulder at 3:40.

The above collage shows the tiny disk of Mercury entering the limb of the Sun below a (somewhat more interesting) large Sunspot. Mercury appears as a small spot 1/200th the size of the Sun, and the full transit lasted about 5 hours.

Clicking on the image will take you to a movie that I put together of the event. Be fore-warned: The movie is 1.9 MB and may take some time to download. Also, it will play through once rather slowly, but then it should speed up (it will loop through).

Object Sun with Mercury Transiting
Common Name Sun and Mercury
Date, Time, & Moon November 8, 2006; N/A
Location SBO Telescope at CU Boulder
Optics 1000 mm lens; f/16
Camera Canon Digital Rebel 350D XT
Exposure Details 5 stacked 1/250 sec exposures for each frame; ISO 100
Optical Correction No Dark- nor Flatframe-Correction
Camera Position Normal camera operation.
Guiding Passive Clock Drive
Processing Details IDL - Image stacking
PhotoShop CS - Sharpened images
ImageReady CS - Aligned frames and cropped
Image Size Sun is 30 arcmin in diameter
Magnitude Depth Sun is magnitude -26.5 as seen from Earth
Notes My first observed transit!