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11th Dec, 2019

Mercury's rare sun passing captured on camera

STARGAZERS were looking to Mercury on Monday night.

The smallest planet in our solar system passed in front of the Sun and for those who missed it will have to wait until 2032 to see it happen again.

Leamington resident Mark Flowers managed to capture this picture – which has been enlarged – despite unhelpful weather conditions.

Mark explained: “The transit began at 12.34pm and ended at 6.04pm after sunset. The weather in Leamington was very cloudy with occasional sunny patches, but also a rain shower, making photography very difficult.

“However, I did manage to photograph the transit at 4.15pm from the Campion Hills in Leamington as the Sun approached the horizon.”

And for those keen to know the technical details, Mark used a Nikon D3300 attached to a Meade ETX90EC 1450mm f16 telescope with Autostar Computer Controller. For safety, he also used a Thousand Oaks glass eclipse filter attached to the front lens to prevent damaging his eyes.

The second picture was taken during Mercury’s passing in 2006 during far better weather conditions. Mercury can be seen in the upper right of the picture, with a sunspot below.

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