May 7, 2003
Solar Transit of Mercury
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Summary: For 5 hours on May 7, 2003, the planet Mercury passed directly between Earth and the sun. Sky watchers on 5 continents photographed the rare transit.

Unless otherwise stated, all images are copyrighted by the photographers.

Jörgen Blom made this sketch of the transit from Stockholm. "I was amazed," says Blom, "that little Mercury seemed so large close to the sun's edge, but then remembered that Mercury of course is not on the sun's surface and therefore does not get foreshortened at the sun's edge as do the sunspots."

"We had a great view," says Alan Fitzsimmons of Belfast, Northern Ireland, who captured this H-alpha image from the roof of the Physics Building at Queen's University: (continued below)

Mercury was easy to see, but "people were generally more impressed with the large prominences visible on the limb," notes Fitzsimmons.

"It was marvelous!" says astronomer Bartek Okonek of Leszno, Poland. Using an 8" telescope, he took this picture at 12:17 CET:

webcasts: Canary Islands; Hong Kong; Norway; Greece; Denmark; Belgium; SOHO; India (1) ; India (2); The Netherlands; Australia; United Arab Emirates; Iran;

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