Transit of Mercury seen by Proba-2


As the smallest planet in the Solar System crossed the face of the Sun on Monday 9 May, one of ESA’s smallest satellites was watching.

Proba-2, smaller than a cubic metre, monitors the Sun from Earth orbit with an extreme-ultraviolet telescope. It was able to spot Mercury’s transit of the Sun as a small black disc roughly four pixels in diameter.

The Mercury transit was visible from Earth starting at 11:13 GMT and ending at 18:42 GMT. The total transit time was about 7 hours and 31 minutes.

Solar transits – where a celestial body is seen to pass across the solar disc from the perspective of Earth – are relatively rare events. Mercury undergoes around 13 transits a century, and Venus two transits every 120 years.

Credit: ESA/ROB

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  1. C'est petit petit. Si on veut voir quelque chose, on a intérêt à choisir la qualité maximale pour visionner cette vidéo. On peut voir un petit point noir (Mercure) passer devant le soleil à partir de 0:15 secondes, à gauche et légèrement en bas de ce dernier (à 8 h).

  2. Reminds me of the Mercury transit scene from 'Sunshine'. I know the movie was fictional, but it made me appreciate transits so much more.

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