To view a time-lapse movie of the transit click here (1.7 MB, 20 seconds). Watch the susnpot group carefully and
you'll actually be able to detect rotation of the Sun over the course of the nearly 5 hour transit.

Click here to see the imaging setup for this Transit of Mercury 2016 as well as photos of the historic
location in the California Desert where the transit was photographed.

Click here to see a Transit of Mercury 2016 diagram from


The Details
The Transit of Mercury 2016
Astro-Physics 105 mm Traveler
Astro-Physics 1200 GTO
Baader Herschel Wedge
09 May 2016
Desert Center, CA - Eastern Riverside County
0.001 to 0.003 seconds, 1x1 binned
Maxim DL/CCD, CCDStack 2, Photoshop CS 5
North is up and East is 90° CCW from North
This Photoshop-layered composite of the observable portion of the transit from the Southern California Desert, which was already in progress at sunrise, shows the path of Mercury across the disc on the Sun at various times.   Lucky observers on the East Coast of the US were fortunate to observe the entire transit from Contact I through Contact IV.  The first location of Mercury in the above image (leftmost dot) was taken at 14:00:04 UT or approximately 57 minutes prior to Greatest Transit, with the total elapsed time from this first location to Contact IV (the span of dots from left to right) being 4 hours 42 minutes 22 seconds.

Also featured here is a time-lapse MP4 movie showing the progress of Mercury as it raced across the disc of the Sun.  When watching the movie it’s interesting to note the rotation of the sunspot group over the nearly 5 hours of the observable transit.

Transits of Mercury are relatively rare events, occurring on average 13 times per century due to the planet's highly inclined orbit relative to Earth’s orbital plane.  During the present time in Earth’s history these transits occur only in early May or early November. The next one visible to us in Southern California will occur on 11 November 2019 and then not again until 07 May 2049.

Transit Timing (in UT):

Contact I             11:12:19
Contact II            11:15:31
Max Transit        14:57:26
Contact III           18:39:14
Contact IV           18:42:26              




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