Sunday, May 1, 2016

Planetary Transits - Rare Astronomical Phenomenon

Planet Mercury is normally seen along the Sun. It rises along with the Sun and is clearly visible at time of Sunset. As it is one of the innermost planets in the solar system, always appear only a small distance away from the Sun in the sky. Mercury is so small and so close to the Sun (always within 28 degrees) that it is difficult to see from Earth during the day, since it is usually lost in the Sun's glare.
But Monday 9 May 2016 and 10 November 2016 a rare astronomical event will be visible from Earth. That is transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun. Mercury will be clearly visible as a black dot on the face of Sun. This transit takes place when Mercury passes directly passes through in between earth and the Sun. Planet Mercury will appear as a dot crossing over the face of Sun, but unlike a solar eclipse, Mercury will only block a small amount of light from the Sun.
Nearly 13 transits of Mercury take place in a century (just once every eight years on average), making it fairly rare events. The last time this happened was in 2006, and the next two occasions will be in 2019 and 2032.


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