Sunspots, Mercury & Humans

By: Nikunj Rawal


Gujarat, India

2016 May 9


Comments: 2

From the photographer: "A transit of Mercury across the Sun takes place when the planet Mercury comes between the Sun and the Earth, and Mercury is seen as a small black dot moving across the face of the Sun. Mercury - the closest, the smallest and the ellipsed orbit planet in our solar system has just transited across the Sun on May 9th 2016 between 16:40 to 19:20 (IST) from Jamnagar Gujarat, India. This was a well planned single shot image taken from 350 meter distance away from foreground using ultra-telephoto zoom lens. People are enjoying watching transit with music. Earth sized sunspot AR2542 is visible in center right disc of the Sun. Every seven years or so, Mercury can be seen from Earth-passing across the face of Sun. This happens because Mercury’s orbit is inclined by 7 degrees to the plane of Earth’s orbit. Mercury has tiny size (4,860 km) compare to Sun (13.9 lakh km) projecting in this featured image appears as a small dot.
This was my dream shot and took few days to settle the location, timing and accuracy. I planned for hill/mountain type location a month ago and indentified the Sunset path in ‪‎Google Map‬. 3 days back I just glanced around the hill alone. 2 days back I took my friend with me for the trial session and seemed ok to me. On the judgment day, climbed the hill with a chair, water bottles (in 43°C temperature) and a guitar for posing shot. I was around 350 meter away from foreground where ultra telephoto zoom lens was to do its work. Most frustrating thing was there was no mobile phone network detectable there, so very much difficulties in communication. Overall, It was a brilliant experience executing the shot. Perhaps, unforgettable experience till now. Feels good, feels better, feels inspired. The next transit of Mercury will occur on 11th Nov 2019 visible from America, Europe and Africa.
Technical details: Caonon 1100D (Crop 1.6X), Tamron 600mm, F25, ISO1600, Shutter Speed 1/320 sec, Single Shot Exposure, Baader Solar Filter Used."
Nikunj Rawal

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Related Keywords: transit of Mercury | sun | sunspot |




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