||Transit of Mercury
Transit of Mercury
In 2003 at 7th of May many telescopes were aligned with the sun: Between 7:11 and 12:33 o'clock Central
European Summer Time a Mercury transit over the sun disk took place. I was lucky to observe this event with my
telescope at almost cloudless sky on a flat roof of the Technical University of Darmstadt. It was my first observation
of the sun and I used the projection method in addition.
If you try to take a photo of the picture on the screen, the next difficulty arises. In
principle it is not possible to align the camera perpendiculary to the screen without optical aids: The sun is
distorted to an ellipse. Using digitized pictures the photo can be equalized with the help of a graphic software.
Since reproduction of the sun appears on a screen, there are in principle two possibilities to to preserve that
observation: You copy it or you take a photo. Since the screen is joined with the telescope trace the migration
sun, this cannot happen without vibrations. The positions of sun inclusive planet will shift at the first contact
of a pen at the screen.
The picture, taken at 11:15 o'clock Central European
Summer Time (fig. 13), looks approximately as a circular disk and has a relatively good resolution. At this page I
present you the picture relatively small. If you want to regard the transit of Mercury enlarged on your display,
(file size approx.160 KB) use a mouse-click on the picture.
Graphic data: aperture number = 8, t = 1/1600 second,
focal length 7mm, no white alignment, dimension of picture 1360 x 1024 pixels.
First you recognize near the centre of sun a large spot (1). You will find Mercury in the upper quarter as
small black disk (2). At the left hand side of the picture, easily below the sun centre, you can discover 2 further
sunspots (3 and 4). The relative size of Sun and Mercury is remarkable: The .5 mm measuring disk of the Mercury is in
truth a planet with a diameter of 4800 km, according to 2/5 of Earth.
: Mercury transit 2003, May 07th 11:15 a.m. CEST
In this morning I photographed Mercury at
different times. Take the picture composition (fig. 14) to reconstruct the movement of the planet. Enlargement
of the picture can be done by mouse-click too (file size approx.. 100 KB).
: Composition of Transit of Mercury in 2003, May 7th
Due to the illustration laws the telescope represents all
pictures inversely and in truth Mercury will pass the sun in the lower quarter. A reflection at the horizontal
axis represents conditions correctly.
Determination of the sun diameterBack to the start of page