CHENNAI: Did you spot the dot? On a hot and humid day, astronomers and amateur stargazers witnessed a rare celestial event on Monday - Mercury’s solar transit, a rare astronomical phenomenon that occurs only 13 times in a century.The smallest planet appeared as a dot transiting between the Sun and the Earth at 4.46 pm and continued till sunset.
Special arrangements were made at the Periyar Science and Technology Centre in Chennai for the benefit of the public. Three telescopes with solar filters were put-up that were used by close to 300 people, mostly enthusiastic school children and members of various astronomical societies.
In case you missed the transit of Mercury, the next Mercury transit will take place on November 11, 2019. However, it will not be possible to observe it from anywhere in India as the transit will begin after the sun has set in every nook and corner of India. But in another 16 years, on November 13, 2032, Mercury’s transit will be visible from India.
The last Mercury transit occurred on November 6, 2006, when the event was visible from the extreme northeastern parts of India at sunrise, said sources.