The Transit of Mercury 9th May 2016




































Swindon Stargazers Transit of Mercury viewing event at Avebury, between Swindon and Devizes

We were set up at Avebury on time for Mercury to commence it's journey across the face of the Sun. The weather was not great and earlier in the morning there were actually a few spots of rain. It was very over cast, but now and then the Sun did shine through. The Sun did manage to burn through to allow us to see the first ingress of Mercury. Although I have seen this before, back in 2003, I was still surprised how small Mercury appeared. The Sun exhibited two sunspots, which Mercury seemed smaller than.

For the next few hours the clouds taunted us with breaks every now and then. When a breakthrough happened we all frantically tried to line our scopes up. But once we did we ended up spending more time allowing passing public to view, than getting the chance to observe ourselves!

Member Peter Chappell brought his H alpha scope along and I for one was looking forward to seeing the Sun is this spectrum of light. Sadly the clouds did not allow for it's use.

Slightly disappointed not have more of a view, or get some images, but just seeing something of the transit was a small consolation. Pete Struve and myself did adjourn to the Red Lion afterwards to drown our sorrows, I mean debrief!

Many thanks to all the National Trust team for making us feel welcome and allowing us to use this historic site as our observing location.

WARNING – Viewing the Sun without using safe and proper equipment WILL seriously risk your eyesight. NEVER point any optical aid at the Sun without the proper filters.

Rob Slack

Credit: Rob Slack
Credit: Rob Slack
Credit: Rob Slack
Credit: Rob Slack
With special thanks to the National Trust