Transit of Mercury – 9 May, 2016

LatestOn Monday, May 9, 2016 the planet Mercury will begin a pass (transit) in front of the Sun, an event which, weather permitting, will be completely observable from Charlottetown.

The last time this occurred was 2006 although transits happen thirteen or fourteen times per century. Interestingly, transits always take place in May or November with May events being half as frequent as November. The next May transit will not be until 2049.

The transit begins at 8:13 AM and continues until 3:41PM. To observe the transit directly you will need a properly filtered telescope.

Alternatively, it is possible to use a telescope to project an image of the Sun onto a white screen so that everyone can see it. To do so, simply point the telescope at the Sun without looking into it and place a white screen (like a piece of paper) several inches away from the eyepiece. Once focus is achieved, an image of the Sun should be visible on the screen.

Solar glasses, such as those used for viewing solar eclipses and the transit of Venus, are inadequate for viewing Mercury as the planet will be far too small to be visible.

Personally, I plan to observe the transit in white light and H-alpha. If you are also planning to take in this rare event, please post,


  1. Hope to see you out at Victoria Park that day!


    1. If you have the time come join me Matthew.


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