On the 9th of May 2016 Mercury will transition across the Sun for the first time since 2006. It should not be missed due to the fact it only happens around 13 times a century. Another reason not to miss this celestial event is the fact that England is in a prime location to watch the entirety of the transit whereas places such as the west coast of America and most of Asia will only be able to view a part of the transit.
During this event Mercury will have 4 different ‘contact’ points with the Sun and a transition in between Contact 2 and 3, which is called the ‘Greatest Transit’. It is in this ‘Greatest Transit’ that you will be able to see a black dot appear on the Sun’s surface, this black dot will be Mercury. This first contact will happen at 12:12 (BST), this is the point when Mercury’s outer diameter will be tangent with the Sun. Then at 12:15 (BST) Mercury will appear as a small black notch on the surface of the sun. For the following 7 hours and 24 minutes Mercury will be visible as a Black dot until it reaches the other side of the Sun and then at 19:42 (BST) Mercury will no longer be visible.
How can you view Mercury?
Considering Mercury is only 1/158th of the suns diameter the use of a telescope will be needed. We recommend a telescope with at least 50x magnification power to be able to really get a good look of Mercury. Please read here on how to use your telescope to view this event.
We also recommend the Bresser Solarix Telescope . This telescope is perfect to view the transition safely. It will also give you high quality images of the transition and any future solar events.
The next time Mercury will have a transition across the sun will be 2019 and then the next one after that will be 2032. So everyone here at F1 Telescopes will be eagerly looking forward to these solar events and we hope you will have a brilliant experience viewing Mercury as it glides across the Sun. F1 Telescopes would also like to welcome anyone who wishes to come view the event with us at our shop in Sittingbourne (weather permitting).