Home > Astronomical Event, Ephemeris Program, Mercury, Transit > 05/05/2016 – Ephemeris – Previewing Monday’s transit of Mercury

05/05/2016 – Ephemeris – Previewing Monday’s transit of Mercury

May 5, 2016

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 5th.  The Sun rises at 6:26.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 26 minutes, setting at 8:53.   The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 6:38 tomorrow morning.

Next Monday, the 9th, the tiny planet Mercury will be seen to cross that face of the Sun.  Astronomers call such an event a transit.  The last time a planet crossed the face of it Sun, it was Venus on June 5th, 2012, almost 4 years ago.  Very few, who were alive in 2012 will be around to see the next transit of Venus in 2117.  Transits of Mercury are more frequent.  Mercury will cross the face of the Sun from 7:12 a.m. to 2:42 p.m. on Monday.  Mercury is too small to see with eclipse filters or with the naked eye.  The latter could cause blindness.  Only telescopes with solar filters that fit over the front of the telescope are safe to use.  Mercury will be a tiny black dot, smaller than most sunspots.  Tomorrow I’ll have information about where to go to see it.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Transit Map

Transit visibility map with added captions to make it more readable. Credit United States Naval Observatory, The Astronomical Almanac Online! 2016

rack of the Transit of Mercury

The track of Mercury across the face of the Sun. Mercury will travel from upper left to lower right. Mercury will not be visible until it impinges upon the disk of the Sun. Credit IOTA’s program Occult4.

From IOTA’s Occult4 program

Transit of Mercury on 2016 May 9 (TT)
   {'+' => next day; '-' => previous day }
                                           Overhead at
     Geocentric Event      UTC         P.A.  Long  Lat
                         h  m  s       o      o    o 

[1]  Exterior Ingress   11 12 16     83.1     11   17
[2]  Minimum Separation 14 57 38             -45   18
[3]  Exterior Egress    18 42 23    224.4   -102   18

Minimum sepn 318.5";  Radii - Sun 950.4", Mercury 6.0"
delta T =  68.2 secs,  Ephemeris = DE0

Note:  These timings are geocentric.  Occult4 has timings for various cities of the world.  Occult4.0.2 can be downloaded here.  They can vary by several minutes for different cities due to parallax.

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