Mercury Passing

transit of mercury

So did you see yesterday’s event? (Above is a snapshot of a movie of the event from a SOHO image capture sequence. Mercury is a tiny dot just below the structure on the right that is not far from one of the remarkably few sunspots on the sun at present (it is low season for them). Go there for more images to see Mercury in action.)

Joe Vandiver (centre, below) here at USC had a telescope set up for all on campus to view:

viewing transit

(Left to right: Jennifer Nakamatsu, Angella Johnson, Joe Vandiver, Veselin Filev (looking through telescope), and Tameem Albash.)

It might seem a bit silly, especially since so many seem apathetic or just take it all for granted these days, but I always feel a sort of connection to the “ancients” when viewing astronomical events like this.


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4 Responses to Mercury Passing

  1. Aaron F. says:

    I always feel a sort of connection to the “ancients” when viewing astronomical events like this.

    Funny you should bring that up! Yesterday I got really excited when I noticed a picture of what looked like a cave painting of the Big Dipper… but it turned out to be just the Cherokee peace flag. Still pretty cool, tho!

  2. Navneeth says:

    Wasn’t visible from where I live. It started too late into the night (or is that too early in the morning?), and NASA’s webcast would be stay for more than 10 seconds. 🙁

    P.S. “Right to left: …” Are you sure? 😉

  3. Clifford says:


    Thanks! (Changed.)


  4. John Branch says:

    Speaking of connections with the ancients: The other day I read a Scientific American article exploring the origins of our concept of the constellations. (The Great Bear, part of which is also known as the Big Dipper, is known to have been a feature of man’s idea of the night sky for maybe 10,000 years or more and is one of our oldest extant creations.) It saddened me to realize that essentially all of us who live in cities are now cut off, by our own “progress” in fending off the darkness, from the basic wonder of looking up into the night and seeing light. Thankfully, we’re still able to look up in the daytime and see a thing or two. Including, now and then, a little planet crossing our star.