Mercury Transit is an event in which planet Mercury is seen going in front of Sun. This is almost like a Solar eclipse in which the Moon comes in between Sun and Earth. In solar eclipse case, the size of Sun and Moon as
seen from Earth being almost same, the Sun may get completely eclipsed there by showing the beautiful Total Solar Eclipse. In this case of transit, the mercury being just a tiny dot as seen from Earth, will not be able to cover the entire Sun but will be seen as a small dot gliding across Solar disc from 4:40 pm (IST) till midnight 00:15 of 10th May 2016.
As the sun sets around 7:03 pm., Indians will be able to see only part of this celestial show. As seen from the image above, the planet Mercury will touch the Solar disc at 4:42 pm and slowly will drag across to reach the Greatest transit at 8:27 pm.
Where is Mercury during the transit ?
Of course, it is in between Sun and Earth. Earth goes around Sun in 365 days while the Mercury goes around in 88 days. Mercury passes in between Sun and Earth every 116 days which is called the Synodic period of Mercury. The position where Mercury is in between Sun and Earth is called as Inferior Conjunction. So on 9th May this will be the case. Transit can occur only at such position.
Why there is no transit during each Inferior Conjunction ?
The planes of Sun-Earth and Sun-Mercury are not coplanar. The orbital plane of Mercury is tilted by around 70 with respect to Sun-
Earth plane (also called Ecliptic). Hence, there could be an inferior conjunction but the Mercury might be above or below the Ecliptic and so it will not Transit the Sun. So only on specific conjunctions when the Mercury is on the line of
nodes, transit can be seen. There will be 14 Transits in this century. They are listed down. As seen Transit occurs only if the inferior conjunction falls in November or May.
Khagol Mandal’s Activity at various locations :
Dadar, Mumbai : 1200+ crowd thronged to Dadar Chowpatty. 4 Telescopes, 1 binocular and very much enthu volunteers made a perfect combination.
Kalyan: 250+ people joined KM Kalyan location. Excellent program
Badlapur: 150+ people went out of way to the some what remote location at Badlapur and enjoyed the event.
Nashik: 450+ Nashikkar’s joined KM Nashik group event. Initial cloud did not dampen the spirit. Volunteers took lecture in-house and crowd waited. Finally Sun showed up and Mercury Transit was visible to all of them. Nasik Municipal Commissionaire and Deputy Commissionaire also joined to enjoy the celestial show. On behalf of Khagol Mandal, we thank authorities of Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Kalyan-Dombivili Corporation, Badlapur NP and Nashik Municipal Corporation for granting permission to host the event. Special thanks to Dadar Police Station, Kalyan Police station, Kulgaon Police Station and other police staff for constant support. Thanks to all print and e-media personal for giving wide publicity to this event.
Finally thanks to all Volunteers who participated in large numbers and showed the event to each and every person who came to KM. You can find the video of the event at Nashik here.