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Wed, 11 May 2016 - Mercury Transit of the Sun on May 9

On Monday May 9 the planet Mercury was seen to transit (or cross over) the face of the Sun.

This long-awaited event took several hours and from the UK started just before midday and went on into the afternoon and early evening. Slowly the tiny round "dot" of Mercury crossed the solar disk.

Because of the small apparent size of Mercury against the solar disk, none of this event could be seen with the naked eye. This meant that a telescope, using either the projection method or a solar filter fitted over the front, was required.

Some of our Section members were lucky while others just saw cloud (I saw about half of it and was then clouded-out).

Thank you to everyone who sent in observations and images. Here are a selection of those images in the order they were received:

Julia Wilkinson. Three images of the Sun in H-alpha plus the fourth taken in white light:

Julia also provided the animated image below of the transit (click image to start animation):

Brian Woosnam. Both images are in H-alpha:

Phil Benson. Image below was taken in H-alpha:

Carl Bowron. All three images below are in white light:

Michael Fullerton. Image below was taken in white light:

Whole disk drawing by Ian Lee (who normally sketches the Sun in H-alpha):

Cliff Meredith took the images below from Manchester (proof that the Sun does appear there). First two are in H-alpha while the third is in white light:

John Chapman-Smith. Photo of the projected image taken while on holiday in Fuerteventura:

Mick Jenkins. Three images below are in white light, the fourth is in H-alpha:

Carl Bowron made this series of images (white light):

Peter Paice captured these excellent images:


Added by: Geoff Elston