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Old 5th November 2006, 11:59 AM
Sionnagh Sionnagh is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 205
Transit of Mercury November 9 (8 elsewhere)

November 9 (8 elsewhere): Transit of Mercury
A transit of Mercury over the disk of the Sun will occur on November 9. From Western Australia we only get to witness the latter part of this event, because transit starts before sunrise. Observers located of the far eastern coast of Australia, far west coast of NorthAmerica, and New Zealand will be able to witness the entire event.

During this event Mercury is positioned in its orbit such that it will travel across the face of the Sun as seen from the Earth. Naturally, it will only appear as a silhouette against this extremely bright background.

REMEMBER: never look at the Sun with the unaided eye or with an optical instrument. You may suffer permanent eye damage.

In the ‘middle’ of the transit Mercury will be furthest from the edge of the sun. This angular separation of the centre of Mercury and the edge of the Sun is called the least angular distance and has a value of 423" for this transit.

The transit or passage of a planet across the face of the Sun is a relatively rare occurrence. As seen from Earth, only transits of Mercury and Venus are possible. On the average, there are 13 transits of Mercury each century. In comparison, transits of Venus occur in pairs with more than a century separating each pair. The next transit by Mercury will occur on 2016 May 09.

All transits of Mercury fall within several days of May 8 and November 10. Since Mercury's orbit is inclined 7 degrees to Earth’s, it intersects the ecliptic at two points or nodes that cross the Sun each year on those dates. If Mercury passes through inferior conjunction at that time, a transit will occur. During November transits, Mercury is near perihelion and near aphelion during May transits. However, the probability of a May transit is smaller by a factor of almost two because of its slower orbital motion at aphelion.

http://www.perthobservatory.wa.gov.au/


Mick
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Ah I just love the early mornings... the sun rising over the hills, the birds calling, the smell of the flowers, the... OI! YOU! GET YOUR DOG OFF MY LAWN! AND CLEAN UP HIS #$%^&* MESS TOO! GIT!

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