Transit of Mercury 2016 – first & second contact – in white light by member Andy Smith. The specific times for each frame left to right are: 12:14:19 BST – 12:14:50 BST – 12:15:11 BST – 12:15:22 BST – 12:15:53 BST


On Monday May 9th 2016, CMHASD held an Open Day at the Parsonage Lane Pavilion, for CMHASD members & for members of the public to hopefully view the rare spectacle of the Transit of Mercury; when Mercury passes between Earth and the Sun.

It turned out to be an absolutely fantastic day and one that people who were there will not forget.

It was a warm sunny day with clear skies at the start and come 12.12pm BST we were rewarded with the first views of the planet Mercury with first contact, passing the Sun’s eastern limb & all in front of a huge prominence too!!!

Members used a variety of techniques to view & image the transit for nearly 3 hours (with a few breaks due to cloud cover) until a little after 3pm when it started to rain. Mercury looked wonderful against the backdrop of the Sun, a little uniform black dot making its way across the face of the Sun. There was no mistaking it for a sunspot either because it was so clearly uniformly black & round. It was visually easy to spot too despite fears it may not be seen that well which was pleasing for those members who were visually observing rather than imaging. There was no missing or mistaking that little black dot!

As you will see from the first photo below, taken by Chairman Simon Dawes, lots of people were there that day and a good time was had by all.

CMHASD would like to thank publicity officer & trustee Honor Wheeler for organising the day – it was a super day.

CMHASD would also like to thank the following members for sharing their photos & images below…Simon Dawes, Andy Smith, Dr Mike Rushton, Martin Crow, Honor Wheeler, Diane Clarke, Gordon Collings & David Freed.


Slide show of members photos taken of the day…….enjoy!

Member Astro images of the Transit of Mercury

Image by Dr. Mike Rushton of the Transit of Mercury from his observatory at home in Kent using a using a C8 with f/6.3 focal reducer, Canon 60D @1/500 sec & ISO100. Image taken at 14:10 UT.


Image by Rita Whiting using the projection method.


Two images by Andy Smith of the Transit of Mercury in white light.

Left: Second contact of the Transit of Mercury taken at 1pm BST

Right: This is Andy’s last image of the day, taken at 3.03.44pm BST and shows Mercury on its way to passing sunspot AR2543 & the large sunspot AR2542. The image has been produced from a 5 second video capture, using equipment: Celestron CG-5 mount, SkyWatcher 100ED, 1.25″ Herschel Wedge and a NexImage 5 planetary camera. The software used was: iCap for capture and Registax 6 and Adobe CC for post processing.


Images by Simon Dawes of the Transit of Mercury 2016, showing first contact – in white light. Mercury is the black dot at the bottom of the disc. There is a sunspot, centre right, in the main image, which is sunspot AR2542.


Images by David Freed & Steve Floodgate.


Images by Honor Wheeler. Transit of Mercury 2016 – second contact in white light. The large sunspot to the upper right, is sunspot AR2542 which is on it’s second journey around the Sun. It was sunspot number AR2529 back in April when it famously took on the shape of a heart during is first journey around the Sun.


Images by Gordon Collings of the Transit of Mercury – 1st & 2nd contact.


Images by Martin Crow in Hydrogen Alpha.

All images are copyright. Permission must be sought to from the image owner to the use of any of these images.