11 November 2019, 08:30 UTC
Planet Mercury is transiting across the disk of the SunThe transit of Mercury across the disk of the Sun (archives).
Quite impressive astronomical phenomenon — transit of the planet Mercury across the disk of the Sun — will occur today on 11 November 2019. The first touch of Mercury with the Sun will take place at 15:35 MSK, and, according to calculations, the ending of the transit should fall on the evening after the sunset at 21:04 MSK. Thus, the duration of the transit will last exactly almost 5.5 hours. Mercury will be in the center of the solar disk at 18:20 MSK.
The transit across the disk of the Sun is possible only for two planets of the solar system — Mercury and Venus, which are located between the Earth and the Sun. For Venus, this is an extremely rare phenomenon which will take place only in 2117. Mercury’s transits across the disk occur much more often. Nevertheless, those who won't be seeing today's event will have to wait for the next 13 more years — until 13 November 2032.
Since the Earth’s significant part of the surface is in the dark side during the transit, and furthermore, the other side is covered with clouds, it is impossible for a significant part of the population to see planet’s transit across the solar disk with their own eyes. In addition, at such a distance the size of the planet is so small that it is only possible to see it with special equipment. For this reason, the best is the space telescopes, which are, especially today, will be looking at the Sun continuously. At the link below, broadcast of the transit is available from the most advanced solar observatory NASA SDO — https://mercurytransit.gsfc.nasa.gov/2019. During the transit, Mercury should also be visible on solar images published on our website, at the link tesis.lebedev.ru/en/sun_pictures.html.
In the XXI century, in total 9 transits of Mercury are still to pass across the Sun. These will take place in 2039, 2049, 2052, 2062, 2065, 2078, 2085, 2095 and 2098.
Laboratory of X-ray astronomy of the Sun, Lebedev Institute, Russia
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