It is being seen as a rare astronomical phenomenon that occurs only 13 times in a century. Mercury, the red planet will be seen as a dot on the solar disc from several parts of India today.Mercury has always amazed scientists for its surface, properties and remains a constant topic of research. It will be a feast for the skygazers as they will be able to see the red planet as a small dot on sun today in India too.
One of the most spectacular celestial events called Mercury Transit will be visible in India too. When we talk in terms of astronomy, a transit takes place when a planet arrives in between the Sun and the Earth. During the Mercury Transit, the planet will look like a small black dot which will appear to be moving in front of the Sun slowly.
A small black dot moves across the Sun
When the Mercury Transit takes place, the planet Mercury appears like a small insect which seems to be moving slowly across the face of the Sun. The orbits of Mercury and Venus are placed within the Earth’s orbit. So, these are the only planets in the solar system that can come in between the Sun and the Earth and this process causes a transit.
When will the Mercury Transit begin?
Sky-gazers will be able to witness the Mercury Transit from 16h.42m. IST from everywhere in India. However, they will not be able to witness the ending as the transit will continue to occur even after sunset.
How is a transit different from lunar eclipse?
A transit is completely different from solar and lunar eclipse, which usually takes place once or twice in a year. When lunar eclipse takes place, the Earth comes in between the Moon and the Sun. It covers the Moon either completely or partially.
How is a transit different from solar eclipse?
When the solar eclipse takes place, it is the Moon that comes in between the Earth and the Sun. It covers the Sun either completely or partially. In case of a transit, the Mercury or Venus don’t cover the Sun wholly or partially but look like a small black dot on its disc.
How frequently does the Mercury Transit take place?
A quite rare astronomical event, thirteen Mercury Transits take place in every century on an average. A Mercury Transit takes place only when the planet if between the Sun and Earth and at the same time passes through the orbital plane of Earth (ecliptic). The Mercury Transit is likely to occur for around five hours this year.
Transit of Mercury
Due to the orbital inclination of Mercury, the Transit takes place only in the months of May and November. When the Mercury Transit happens, the Earth becomes closer to one of the two points that is ascending or descending node in its orbit. The plane of Mercury’s orbit intersects the orbital plane. The Mercury passes across the Sun when the alignment is sufficiently exact. Its angular size is about 1/150th of the diameter of the Sun.
Effects of the Mercury transit
Mercury is the planet that represents Business and Finance, according to the Astrological science (Jyotish Shashtra). Any change in its position is believed to affect the economy. It has reportedly been recorded that the world has suffered an economical setback whenever the Transit of Mercury occurs.
Earlier, some of the Mercury Transits that occurred were on May 9, 1970, November 10, 1973, November 13, 1986, May 7, 2003 and November 8, 2006. Reportedly, all the above mentioned Mercury Transits had created a bad impact on the global economy. Also, it reportedly caused crash in the stock market and also affected the financial and banking sector.