SDO imager

Observing the Mercury Transit - never mind the clouds

SDO/AIA 171Å Mercury transit

SDO/HMI 6173Å Mercury transit

SDO/AIA 171Å zoom on Mercury

SDO/AIA 304Å zoom on Mercury

Here we show images of the Mercury transit in EUV (top left, bottom left and right) by the AIA telescope and visible light (top right) by the HMI telescope, both onboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite. The solar atmosphere consists of different layers starting from the photosphere, and moving outwards through the chromosphere and the transition zone to the hottest and most outer layer, the corona. AIA 171Å gives a view of the lower corona, while AIA 304Å shows the cooler and denser solar plasma of the chromosphere and transition zone.

The resolution of the AIA and HMI cameras is high enough to spot the tiny planet Mercurius when it transits the solar surface.

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Data courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA and HMI science teams
Access to SDO images was supported by the SOLARNET project, funded by the European Commission's FP7 Capacities Programme under the Grant Agreement 312495.