Mercury Transit

Reports for 2019
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Paul D
Equipment Manager
Posts: 2107
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 2:13 pm

Mercury Transit

Unread post by Paul D »

I started off the morning at 6:30am very excited by the prospect of seeing Mercury transit the sun and also seeing the planet Mercury for the very first time. Looking out my back deck things looked real grim. I was under a full bank of clouds as far as I could see. I reluctantly set up my PST thinking that this was not going to happen.

At about 8:30am I started to notice breaks in the clouds and as time went on I could see a leading edge of clouds moving away to expose the sun. I grabbed the tripod with the PST on it and got it into position. By 9:00am the sun was out of the clouds and I started observing. I personally was not expecting to see much with a 40mm PST. Initially I was correct, It had been awhile since I had observed with the PST and I was not use to dialing it in. I managed to dial it in and focus it to a prominence field leaving the surface of the sun blank. There it was, almost at the center line of the sun. A single black dot. It was incredibly small and it took some fine focusing to make it jump out against the surface of the sun.

Over the course of an hour I observed Mercury with both a 12mm and 18mm Coronado eyepieces. I also used the 2x barlow that comes with the Coronado set and was amazed by the clarity of what I was observing knowing it would have been a lot better it the sun was not in hazy clouds. At about 10:00am another bank of clouds moved in and I packed it up but didn't break down in case conditions improved. Conditions never improved enough to warrant me bringing the PST back out. I was very pleased with the outcome of finally seeing Mercury for the very first time and seeing it transit the sun at the same time.

I do have to say this is one of the few times I was happy that the sun was not active. Sunspots would have made this event difficult with such a small aperture. Oh and I should end by saying I did observe one small prominence, besides that the sun was very quiet.
Paul...

16" f/5 Night Sky Truss (Midnight Mistress)
10" f/5 Home built Dob with Parks mirror.
Pre-Meade PST
Celestron Skymaster Binos 25-125x80
Meade Travelview Binos 10x50

See that 16" in the sleek black dress? She is all mine. :)
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Apollo XX
MSSF Coordinator
Posts: 2656
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:11 pm

Re: Mercury Transit

Unread post by Apollo XX »

Nice report, Paul. Thanks for sharing. 8)
"The purpose of life is the investigation of the Sun, the Moon, and the heavens." - Anaxagoras
Bruce D
Life Member
Posts: 5538
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 6:10 am

Re: Mercury Transit

Unread post by Bruce D »

Good effort Paul!
Bruce D
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