Enchanted Skies

Solar System

Mercury Transits the Sun (imaged from Las Cruces)

Mercury Transit Mercury Transit Series


Object Information                                            Imaging Details

Several times each year Mercury passes more or less between the Sun and the Earth - an event known as an inferior conjunction. Due to slight differences in the planes of their orbits, the two planets only rarely line up precisely with the Sun. October 2006 was one such occasion when a perfect alignment occured resulting in Mercury transiting the Sun. In the Las Cruces area, the transit started just after noon and ended just a few minutes after sunset.

I set up in front of Gerald Thomas Hall on the NMSU campus. During the transit, scores of people including a visiting 8th grade class from Gadsden Middle School viewed the transit through the right angle finder attached to my camera.

Clicking the above images will bring up a larger, higher-resolution images.


Celestron NexStar GPS 11"

Canon 300D (type 1 modified)
Baader Solar Filter (off axis)
Misc. Optics:
Celestron f/6.3 reducer/corrector
Curves/levels/sharpening adjustments made with Photoshop CS. Noise reduction with Noise Ninja.

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Enchanted Skies - Astrophotography by Rich Richins (all images copyright, Rich Richins)