Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

Mercury’s Transit of the Sun 2019

Watch more with these video collections:

On November 11, 2019, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured Mercury’s transit of the sun. It lasted from approximately 7:00 am to 1:38 pm ET (1200 to 1808 UTC). What exactly is a transit? Nicholas St. Fleur explains:

Cosmically speaking, a transit is when a celestial body — like a planet or moon — moves between a larger object and some observers, typically us on Earth.

The most famous transit is a solar eclipse, when the moon passes in front of the sun, like during the 2017 Great American Eclipse. There is also a lunar eclipse, where Earth passes directly between the sun and the moon, casting a reddish shadow on the lunar surface.

Because Earth is the third planet in our solar system, we can see the transits of Mercury and Venus.

transit of mercuryFrom Bruce Betts at The Planetary Society:

Mercury transits occur about 13 to 14 times per century. The last one was in 2016, but the next isn’t until 2032. The timing is tied to not only the interplay of the orbital periods of the two planets, but also the relative tilt of the two orbits. Mercury’s orbital plane is tilted a few degrees relative to Earth’s orbital plane. The Sun-Mercury-Earth line-up can only occur when Mercury is passing through the plane of Earth’s orbit, and only if that occurs when Earth is in the right part of its orbit.

transit of mercury

See how NASA’s SDO converts a wide range of invisible wavelengths into colorized images.

Plus: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO): Year 5 and Venus crossing in front of the sun.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Understanding the Magnetic Sun – NASA Goddard

Rion Nakaya

The sun, our closest star, in a stunning 4K time lapse animation

Rion Nakaya

The science of solar eclipses: How do solar & lunar eclipses work?

Rion Nakaya

Solar Eclipse 2015: BBC Stargazing Live Video

Rion Nakaya

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO): Year 5

Rion Nakaya

NASA’s SDO captures the Mercury Transit in time lapse

Rion Nakaya

Jewel Box Sun: Invisible wavelengths of light translated into colors

Rion Nakaya

How to watch a total or partial solar eclipse

Rion Nakaya

How NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Will Touch the Sun

Rion Nakaya