Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Watch the Transit of Mercury tomorrow morning

One of the rarest astronomical events will take place tomorrow morning (Thursday, Singapore time) when the planet Mercury crosses in front of the sun! This event called the transit of Mercury last took place in 2003.

The transit will be widely visible from the Americas, the Pacific Ocean, eastern Asia, and Australia. Observers throughout most of the Americas will witness the beginning of the transit but the Sun will set before the event ends. Those in Asia and most of Australia will see the end of the event since the transit will already be in progress as the Sun rises. Regions where the entire transit is visible include western North America, eastern Pacific, New Zealand, southeastern Australia and Antarctica. Click here to check the local times for your area.

For those of us in Singapore, the transit will already be underway when the sun rises. Sunrise time for Singapore tomorrow is 6.47am. Mercury will finish crossing the sun at just after 8am. Please note that you will need a telescope fitted with a solar filter in order to view the transit. Mercury will look like a tiny black dot as it moves quickly across the sun.

For those of you who prefer to watch the transit LIVE on the web, do check out the following: SOHO, Exploratorium, Kochi National College of Technology Astronomy Club, Astro Today and NASA.

Click here to view an animation showing how Mercury will cross the sun.

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