Recalling the 2003 transit of Mercury

As described in the previous Journal, Mercury will cross the Sun’s disk on Monday May 9. The timings for the event are from about 11:12 to 18:41 UT, or from 12:12 to 19:41 BST. Since the February Journal was printed, Prof David Rothery has advised me that there have been a number of Mercury videos uploaded which have links from the BepiColombo Mercury mission website.

In 2003 a number of members across the UK and Europe were able to get good views of the transit of May 7, and a short summary of their work was published in the Journal at the time. Recently I went through the Section archive containing their results to refresh my memories of that day. Here are a few images from 2003, to act as a further reminder of the approaching event, and to encourage observers to submit their results to the Mercury & Venus Section.

I found that a complete list of the contributing observers in 2003 was not published at the time. They were: J. Cook, E. L. Ellis, R. Emery, D. Fisher, M. Foulkes & P. Carter, D. Frydman, M. H. Gaiger, M. Giuntoli (Italy), A. W. Heath, R. J. McKim, J. C. D. Marsh, P. J. Meadows, C. E. Meredith, B. Mitchell, M. P. Mobberley, D. Niechoy (Germany), G. North, P. Paice, M. D. Taylor, A. Vincent, W. J. Williamson.

[In the full article] we show a whole disk photo by Alan Heath and a collage showing egress by Mike Foulkes & Paul Carter. The drawing above shows the progress of the event drawn by Peter Meadows, as observed by projection with an 80mm refractor.

I encourage observers to time the contacts and to report their results, in addition to supplying their drawings and images. It only remains for me to wish everyone good luck with the weather on May 9.

Richard McKim, Director, Mercury & Venus Section

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