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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2962

The Transit of Mercury

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…

On Monday, the shadow of Mercury, the innermost planet of our Solar System, will appear to be passing across the Sun as a dot in a process known as the transit of Mercury. It will begin at 11:12GMT and last for over 7 hours before dying down at 18:42GMT.

It may not generate the enthusiasm of a solar eclipse among the lay people; however, it still is a significant astronomical event, as the transit of Mercury occurs about 13 times in a century. The last time we witnessed it in 2006.

During the transit, Mercury passes directly between the Sun and the Earth while forming a shadow across the Sun in the form of a series of dots at regular intervals – somewhat diagonally.

The transit will be clearly visible from most of the Earth, including America, the Atlantic, the Pacific Ocean, Europe, Africa and most of Asia. The transit, however, will not be visible from eastern Asia, Japan, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.

The transit will be visible before the sunrise for those who live in North-West America. The transit will end after the sunset for Eastern Europe, Asia and most of Africa.

There are only two planets in our Solar System which could provide us with the spectacle of the transits; they are Mercury and Venus, owing to their closeness to the Sun and being positioned between the Earth and the former.

It was Johannes Kepler, the German mathematician and astrologer, who predicted the transit of two planets based on his calculations. Unfortunately, he died in 1630, a year before a Frenchman observed it - and going down in history as the first for recording the phenomenon.

Since the orbit of Mercury is inclined at a certain angle to that of the Earth, the two planets do not happen to be lying on the same line often. This astronomical fact accounts for the frequency of the event – 12 or 13 times in a century.

transit of mercury

Celestial events hardly pass without stirring up some anxieties among the folks across the globe regardless of geographical divide – something that we inherited from our forefathers. The transit of Mercury is no exception.

For instance, according to YouTube channel ,The Prophetico, the coincidence of the transit of Mercury and position of a certain star constellation means the end is not far away! It supports the claim by referring to certain biblical prophesies.

Even if the end is near, it is not advisable to look at the Sun directly in order to enjoy the rare spectacles of this kind – within the time left for our earthly existence. The usual guidelines offered by astronomers apply in this case too.

- Asian Tribune -

The Transit of Mercury
diconary view
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