The Transit of Mercury 2003 May 7 UTC 

A relatively rare alignment of the Earth, Mercury and the Sun occurred on 2003 May 7th when the planet Mercury passed across the face of the Sun - the first transit of the 21st Century. Occurring only 13 or 14 times per century, these transits are quite special and it was fascinating to see the tiny black dot of Mercury move across the brilliant solar photosphere. A nearby sunspot provided an interesting comparison.

From Scotland the transit started around 6:10am and finished around 11:30am being observed through hazy, then thickening, cloud.  


Taken at 07:03UTC through a telescope with an effective focal length of 1680mm and f/11 with an OD 5 solar filter fitted to the front; 1/30s exposure onto 200ASA film.

A minute or so before emersion Mercury is visible as a small nick in the edge of the sun's disk. Details as above.