11th Dec, 2019

Caught in transit - Mercury captured crossing the sun by Redditch resident

Ross Crawford 12th Nov, 2019

IT was a pinch yourself moment for amateur astronomer Andy Taylor on Monday lunchtime after he successfully photographed the transit of the planet Mercury across the Sun.

The omens had not been good – the cloud cover was heavy and rain was forecast but so was a break in the weather.

“I was looking to the north, north west, fearing the worst but we’d been promised a bit of a break so I set up my telescope and during a very short gap in the clouds I took the photo,” said the Woodrow resident.

The transit of Mercury is a fairly rare occurence – there’s generally 13 every century and always either in May or November – but the planet, the smallest in the solar system, is rather irregular in its time keeping with the last transit just three years ago.

To take the photo in the middle of the day Andy used a special solar filter to screen out 99.9 per cent of the sun’s burning light.

Mercury is next due to pass across the sun in November 2032 but in the meantime Andy’s is turning to the next sight in the celestial calendar, photographing Orion’s Nebula – a shining nursery where new stars are born.

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