A transit of Mercury took place on 9th May 2016. This is a relatively a rare event: there will be another on 11th November 2019 but, after that, you’ll have to wait until 2032!
What’s it all about?
Mercury is a fascinating planet and the target of the European Space Agency’s upcoming mission, BepiColombo. In the run-up to the transit of Mercury, we’ve invited European scientists that study the innermost planet or whose research relates to transits to contribute guest features about their work and to participate in Google Hangouts.
- Mercury: the planet, the missions and the transit – by Prof Dave Rothery
- The Venus Twilight Experiment: What we learned from the last transit of Venus by Dr Paolo Tanga
- Europlanet Mercury Live Hangout Part 1 – (recorded on Tuesday, 12 April 2016)
- Europlanet Mercury Live Hangout Part 2 – (recorded on Tuesday, 19 April 2016
- Europlanet Mercury Live Hangout Part 3 – (recorded on Tuesday, 20 May 2016)
How to view the transit
The European Space Agency (ESA) web-streamed live images throughout the transit at: http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/cesar/streaming
Live images were also broadcast via a live Google Hangout, which was on air throughout the transit. For details, see:
Click on the map to see where and when the transit was visible from Earth.
For details about how to observe the transit safely and videos about the planet, visit the Open University’s Discover Mercury site and the Society for Popular Astronomy’s video presented by Prof Lucie Green.
We’d like to see your pictures of the transit and of you or your friends viewing the event. Tweet your selfies using the hashtag #MercuryTransitSelfie
Share Europlanet’s video about the transit:
The video can be downloaded in various resolutions here: https://vimeo.com/161921266
Transit of Mercury Schools Challenge
The European Space Agency challenged European school students to observe the transit and to recreate the measurements made by astronomers around 300 years ago in order to calculate the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Find out more here.
BepiColombo – Transit of Mercury:
Europlanet – Transit of Mercury:
Observatoire de Paris – Le passage de Mercure:
Royal Astronomical Society – Rare transit of Mercury to take place on 9th May:
Society for Popular Astronomy – Transit of Mercury 2016
Universe Awareness – Circus Mercurius: