Mercury makes journey across the sun

The planet Mercury transited across the face of the sun on Monday. From earth only the two innermost planets can transit the sun.

The planet Mercury transits across the face of the sun. Photo: Chris Brown
The planet Mercury transits across the face of the sun. Photo: Chris Brown

It is that little black dot at “nine o’clock” on the face of the sun. The other marks are sunspots.

Transits of Venus are very rare and come in pairs with the next in 2117. Mercury’s transits occur in intervals of seven, 13 and 33 years.

We might see the start of the next one from Shetland on the afternoon of 11th November 2019. The next transit we have a chance to see start to finish is in May 2049.


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  • David Spence

    • May 10th, 2016 21:40

    Here is something to think about.

    Nasa has just announced the Kepler Space Observatory has discovered 1,284 new planets. Double what was expected.

    If we are to believe science (which does have more substance than religion, lets say) that our own galaxy has around 200,000,000,000 stars, and, based on present observations, it is a high probability that many stars do indeed have planets revolving around them.

    If we take an average of 5 planets per star, it is estimated there could be as much as over 2,500,000,000 planets or more in our own galaxy the milky way.

    It is estimated, under Drakes Equation, to be 100,000,000 civilizations within our own Milky Way.

    If we take the estimated number of galaxies there are in the observable Universe, around 100,000,000,000 x (estimated civilizations) 100,000,000 = 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 civilizations within the Universe??????

    and to some people think, a certain deity only created life on 1 planet revolving around 1 star??????

    What are the chances other forms of life exist elsewhere outwith Earth, Solar System and beyond????

  • Haydn Gear

    • May 11th, 2016 13:32

    And what are the chances that a deity would want to create so many bodies whether suns and planets in an ever expanding universe? And how and when did the deity (a product of the imagination perhaps) have its beginning? I wonder how many planets have had , have and are destined to have gardens of Eden,famines, wildfires and nuclear arsenals? Isn’t it all a bit far fetched and fit only for fairy stories?

  • David Spence

    • May 12th, 2016 12:43

    lol I would say, Haydn.

    My theory towards religion is based on, if you have a species of life which perceives itself superior to all other life forms, then it is going to believe it was created separately……..even although there is no evidence to substantiate such a claim……….thus the birth of religion.

    However, as humans became more developed, especially in agriculture and the invention and use of tools, the necessity to always be on the move, nomadic, became less and less. So, you have a situation where population growth could expand greater due to the development of agriculture and the greater use if tools.

    As a consequence of concentrated populations, a system of control was needed to distinguish a sort of heirachy…………..again, religion filled this void in a way which segregated those in power and those under such power.

    Many cultures have used some form of religion to justify those in power maintaining power, but it also served as a means of making the act of death more acceptable, lets say.

    So, religion serves as a means of power and control as well as, without any evidence, softening the blow for the afterlife……………..unless of course you are the sacrifice (Mayan, Inca’s, Vikings etc etc).

  • Haydn Gear

    • May 13th, 2016 10:39

    David , in general essence I agree with you but the root of the matter lies in the belief or disbelief in an Almighty God somewhere up there” waving a magic wand” creating the cosmos and all life forms. The coming of religion (quite late in the evolution of humankind) was probably based on the wonders of the night sky coupled with a means to initiate control, often with fearful threats. eg being sent to hell. It never ceases to amaze me that people.despite no evidence of a God,still continue to sing hymns and mutter prayers. But when it comes to everyday matters they demand proof. Very ironic. Even the Queen who seems to be an intelligent, level headed woman,goes through the motions as head of the Anglican Church.Will the all consuming questions about religion EVER be solved? In many ways religious belief seems to be waning but control in ugly forms is not.In the fullness of time we will all be cremated by the sun.That’s not too clever is it God. !!!!!!!


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