11.11.2019 – Transit of Mercury

Observation report

As already assumed when I did the weather forecast before the evening, the observation of the transit of Mercury was very exhausting and difficult. Unfortunately, as forecasted from several weather models, the clouds got more thick early, so that the sky was already clody before noon and the sun had no chance to shine. Of course this didn’t get better while the weather front and its clouds came closer and closer and so it was around noon the sky was totally covered by clouds. Only very very up the sky near the zenith the sky was less covered and you still could see a little bit blue sky. But of course that wasn’t helpful at all and also this disappeard short time after noon. The clouded sky which didn’t allow at any time to see the sun almost destroyed all hopes of having a view of that transit event because the forecast was, that the clouds should get more and more thick now. Even the situation seems to be hopeless, I kept to stay attentive.

Out of my roof window I had a good view towards the already started transit of Mercury (means towards the sun) and so also in south-southwestern direction from where the clouds moved across the sky at this time.  It was actually then at 2.36 pm, that means about one hour after the beginning of the transit, that there were some more bright areas between some clouds in this direction. The clouds there were scattered enough to show the sun. Therefore I took my camera (Canon SX 50) with the self-built solar filter and I got ready while waiting with open window.  Several more bright areas between the clouds appeared, but the sun wasn’t visible yet. Almost exactly at 2.43 pm finally it happened and the sun was visible, luckily the area where Mercury should be that time in front of the solar disk. Without thinking too much, I immediately used the time to take as many pictures as possible. The conditions weren’t good because the sky never cleared up in that area completly so that there were always some more thin clouds visible in front of the solar disk. In total I was able to take 9 pictures within the timeframe of 1,5 minutes when the area of Mercury was at least visible. Afte this very short time again more thick clouds appeared and covered the sun again. On 8 of the 9 pictures I wasn’t able to find Mercury but on one picture, which was the second that I took, I could find Mercury as very weak spot. Due to the always thin clouds in front of the sun while I took the picture, it wasn’t easy to detect Mercury and also on the original it is very faint and still need help to find it, or at least it’s important to know where it must be. But because of the position of this weak spot it is Mercury. With the editing of the picture it got visible a little better. Until 2.46 pm there were some other little bright areas between the clouds, but the sun didn’t appear again. Afterwards the clouds got more thick and some rain came up, so there was no chance to have success about observing the transit again until sunset. 

To enjoy the transit of Mercury this year was impossible because of the weather conditions, but at least I was able to have a very short look at it and could take one half-useful picture. Later I was joining the live-broadcast of SLOOH for this event and it was very interesting and entertaining with some really nice pictures. Also on the SDO website I enjoyed the almost live pictures with the different filters. Around this observation report you will find one animation of the SDO (at the beginning of the observation report, right side) and of course also my edited picture that I was able to took of the transit (above this text passage). There I also marked the field where you can find Mercury and made an animation of the original picture and the edited one. Under this text passage here you will be able to see also a collage of some nice pictures of the SDO:

Now we have to wait until the 13th November 2032 until it is time again for another –> transit of Mercury!

 

 

 

General information about the transit of Mercury on 11th November 2019

After the successfull observation of the transit of Mercury on 9th June 2016 it is finally again time for a transit of Mercury on 11th November 2019. From my region unfortunately we can observe just about half of the transit because then it’s already time here for the sunset. he transit of Mercury starts here at 1.35 pm when the sun will have an height of about 19° above the horizon. The sun reaches its highest point over the horizon already at 12.17 am with an height of 22°. The planet Mercury will reach then the middle of the solar disk at about 4.19 pm when the sun here will have only a height of 3,5° above the horizon. Just some time later, at exactly 4.52 pm, the transit of Mercury will end here already because it is sunset. You can observe this event in the cardinal directions of SSW when the transit starts to SW, where the sun will set. The tranit has here at my region a duration of 3 hours and 17 minutes. 

Actually the whole transit of Mercury would continue until 7.05 pm, that means it has a full duration of 5,5 hours.

IMPORTANT : Observations of the sun are really dangerous, if you don’t follow the inevitable safety instructions! Never look directly into the sun! Never point binoculars or telescopes without a special solar filter towards the sun! Your eyes would get immediately heavy damage or even total blindness would be the result!  

 

Observation:  For the observation of the transit of Mercury you need in addition to the already named solar filters at least binoculars or a telescope, because Mercury is quiet small on the solar disk. The popular solar eclipse goggles are not enough for that event. Another possible alternative are cameras with a lot of zoom for which you could build a solar filter. For those who don’t have this special needed equipment, they have the pissibility to watch it with 100% safety in one of the live coverages or for example here on this website of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

 
 
 
Tabular overview of the transit of Mercury on 11th November 2019:
 
1.35 pm:            Begin of the transit of Mercury   (height: ~19°, SSW)
 
4.10 pm:            Maximum of the transit with Mercury in the middle of the solar disk   (height: ~ 3,5°, SW)
 
4.52 pm:             End of the transit for my region due to sunset   (height: 0°, SW)
 
 
 
 
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