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How to safely observe Mercury crossing the Sun on 11 November 2019

7 Nov 2019, 23:48 UTC
How to safely observe Mercury crossing the Sun on 11 November 2019
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This looping movie shows a simulation of innermost planet Mercury’s journey across the face of the Sun on Monday, 11 November 2019 as seen by an observer in the heart of the British Isles. For the period after sunset (~4:18pm GMT) in the UK, the corresponding time in New York and Universal Time is also shown. The view corresponds to an equatorially-mounted, erect-image telescope with a solar filter attached. Newtonian reflector users need to rotate the image 180°, while refractor, Schmidt- and Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope users with a star diagonal should mirror the view east-west. AN animation by Ade Ashford.Shortly after 12:35pm GMT on Monday, 11 November 2019, suitably equipped observers in the British Isles can witness the start of a 3.7-hour spectacle that hasn’t been seen for three-and-a-half years — the silhouette of innermost planet Mercury transiting the face of the Sun.
Mercury makes one orbit of the Sun in just 88 days, but as seen from our moving vantage point on Earth the planet comes between us and the Sun (termed inferior conjunction) every 116 days, on average. Most times Mercury passes above or below the Sun’s disc, but 13 or 14 times every century, in the months of ...

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