NASA releases epic transit of Mercury video

By AG Staff Writer 10 May 2016
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Yesterday’s transit of Mercury was only visible in the Northern Hemisphere – but this stunning video from NASA will make up for missing out on the rare event.

YESTERDAY, SKY WATCHERS in the Northern Hemisphere were treated to a rare astronomical event – the transit of Mercury across the Sun.

This only happens 13 or 14 times per century and was visible yesterday across the eastern half of the USA and in western Europe for about seven hours.

While a transit of Mercury won’t be visible in Australia until 2032, we can enjoy this stunning 17-second video released by NASA this morning, showing the little black dot of Mercury flitting across the face of the Sun. 

“Although Mercury whips around the sun every 88 days – over four times faster than Earth – the three bodies rarely align,” explained NASA in the original video caption. “Because Mercury orbits in a plane 7 degrees tilted from Earth’s orbit, it usually darts above or below our line of sight to the sun.”

The transit took place from 7:12am US Eastern Daylight time until 2:42pm yesterday. The last transit was in 2006 and the next one will be in November 2019.