Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Mercury Transit on November 8, 2006
News story originally written on November 6, 2006
The planet Mercury will cross in
front of the Sun on Wednesday, November
8, 2006. When that happens,
astronomers call it a transit. A transit is like a solar
eclipse. An eclipse happens when the Moon passes in front of the Sun. A
transit happens when a planet passes in front of the Sun. Planets are much
further away than the Moon, so they look much smaller. A planet does not completely
cover the Sun during a transit like the Moon
does during an eclipse.
will be 14 transits of Mercury this century. This one will be the second. The last
transit of Mercury before this one was in 2003. The next won't
be until May 9, 2016.
Only two planets ever transit the Sun. The two planets
are Mercury and Venus.
Transits of Venus are very rare. They only happen about two times every 100
years! In the 1700's astronomers used
transits of Venus to make the first good measurement of the distance between
Earth and the Sun.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
"Transit" is a special term astronomers use. A transit is like an eclipse of the Sun. When an eclipse of the Sun happens, the Moon gets between us and the Sun and blocks the sunlight. When a transit happens,...more
The planet Mercury crossed in front of the Sun on May 7, 2003. When that happens, astronomers call it a transit. A transit is like a solar eclipse. An eclipse happens when the Moon passes in front of the...more
Sometimes the planet Venus gets between Earth and the Sun. When it does, we see a black dot move across the Sun. The black dot is Venus. Astronomers have a name for this. They call it a "transit"...more
Sometimes the planet Venus goes between Earth and the Sun. From Earth it looks like a black dot moves across the Sun. Astronomers call this a transit of Venus. Transits of Venus don't happen very often....more
The planet Mercury will cross in front of the Sun on Wednesday, November 8, 2006. When that happens, astronomers call it a transit. A transit is like a solar eclipse. An eclipse happens when the Moon passes...more
Astronomers have found another planet outside our solar system. That makes a total of 102 exoplanets that have been found so far! The astronomers that found the exoplanet, have been searching outside...more
Have you ever wanted to see a picture of a star? How about 2 million pictures?! The Two-Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS)has put together all these images of stars for you to see! Just click on the link below...more
Earth may look like a giant marble from space, but it is not exactly round! It is a little wider around the equator, like a tangerine. But Earth's shape does not stay the same! Scientists have been watching...more