I tried to tune in for the transit of Mercury in 2016, but I was quite excited about the event as I was in work and didn't know if I could watch it at all - admittedly not a daily sight.
For the high school students of our school, I gave a presentation on the Mercury Transit in December 2015, but later it turned out that unfortunately we will not be able to observe it organically as it will be a teaching break as the KGYTK 2016 National Finals are held at our institution. This, in turn, opened up new alternatives to joint observation.
Many of my astronomy students came to see Mercury retreating in front of the Sun and the little "science seedlings" and their preparatory teachers at KGYTK were able to successfully observe Mercury, which appears as a small black dot.
What is this obscurity about? It was not easy! After entering, enough nasty rain clouds had arrived and it seemed pretty hopeless that anyone could see anything. We were about to give up, when, after analyzing the satellite imagery, the hope shone and finally at around 4pm local time, the Sun was shining in a crystal clear blue sky and Mercury appeared as a silhouette.
Planetary transitions are very rare events, since as we know planets do not orbit exactly in the same plane, it depends on several factors whether or not this phenomenon occurs. In front of the Sun, only an inner planet can pass through, so outside of Mercury and Venus can obscure all parts of us from our central star. Transit of Mercury is much more common than transit of Venus, which is due to Mercury's faster orbit around the Sun. Next time, transit of Mercury will be on November 11, 2019 in the afternoon. The more spectacular Venus Transit can be seen closer in 2117 from across the planet. Our offspring contemplating our country (Hungary) will have to wait until 2125 for the silhouette of Venus.
I took the photo with a refractor of the Rózsakerti Demjén István Reformed Primary School using my own camera to collect the photons.
R.A. 03 h 06 m 52 s Dec. +17° 30′ 47″
151.1 million km
09/05/2016 14:41 UT
Budapest, Pest, Hungary
Nikon D3300 (unmodified)
Sky-Watcher 70/500 refractor
Focal ratio, length:
f/7, 500 mm
Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop
R.A. 03 h 07 m 06 s Dec. +17° 26′ 30″
83.3 million km