- imminent transits visible from Middlebury
- upcoming transits
- The next Transit of Mercury in the skies above Middlebury will be on the morning and early afternoon of Monday, November 11, 2019.
- The next Transit of Venus will be at night on Friday/Saturday, December 10/11, 2117.
- The next Transit of Venus in the skies above Middlebury will be on the late morning and afternoon of Saturday, December 8, 2125.
- older and historical transit information
Transit of Mercury of 2016 May 9
A transit of Mercury across the sun will happen in the skies above Middlebury on the morning and early afternoon of Monday, May 9, 2016. The transit will begin at about 7:12am and it will end at about 2:42pm.
A transit of Mercury happens when Mercury passes directly between the sun and the earth. Mercury appears as a dark circle moving across the solar disc during a transit event. This event happens about 13 times every century.
Historically, the transits of planets across the sun have been important in refining our estimates of the size of our solar system. Measurements of the much more infrequent transits of Venus during the 17th and 18th centuries were particularly valuable to astronomers as they launched many expeditions across the globe to observe these events.
We will not have a public observatory event during this transit of Mercury. Transits of Mercury are not safe to view without proper training and equipment. One should never look at the sun with the naked, unaided eye, with binoculars, or with a telescope without a filter specifically designed to block almost all of the sun’s light. Looking at the sun even momentarily can cause severe and permanent eye injury.
Although Middlebury College is not responsible for the content of this web link, NASA has an article on eye safety during solar eclipses which is largely applicable to transit events, except that during transit events there is never a safe time, not even briefly, to look directly at the sun with the naked eye.
The next transit of Mercury in the skies above Middlebury will be on the morning and early afternoon of Monday, November 11, 2019.
Approximate Timeline (for Middlebury)
2016 May 9 5:33am Sunrise
2016 May 9 7:12am Contact I
2016 May 9 7:16am Contact II
2016 May 9 10:57am Greatest transit
2016 May 9 2:39pm Contact III
2016 May 9 2:42pm Contact IV
2016 May 9 8:06pm Sunset
All times Eastern. Data courtesy USNO.
The 2016 Transit of Mercury, Science @ NASA.
2016 Mercury Transit Path, NASA.gov.