MAY 15, 2016 07:18 AM PDT

Amazing Footage of the Mercury Transit

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Mercury is quite a resilient little planet, likely experiencing an incredibly violent impact early on in its existence that blew most of its crust to bits, leaving only a tiny shell around a massive iron core. The solar wind it is so closely exposed to blasts away its atmosphere, and yet it has survived.

It transited the sun on May 9, 2016, as it does about 13 times a century. The Mercury transit matters because its so difficult to study this planet. While other planets have plenty of active probes, getting to Mercury is incredibly tough. To reach it, a probe would have to be fired deep into the sun's gravity pull and aimed for a target that moves 30 miles per second. So for that reason, Mercury has only been visited on two occasions: a flyby by Mariner 10 in 1973, then an orbital mission by the MESSENGER probe, which orbited the planet from 2011 to 2015. Neither NASA nor any other space agency is currently planning to return.

View some incredible footage (complete with dramatic background music) presented by NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory and Goddard Space Flight Center.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
SEP 06, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 06, 2018
Superconducting Levitation "Roller Coaster"
You probably have seen this a thousand times: a liquid nitrogen-chilled, superconducting puck levitates over a large magnet or zooms back and forth on a ma...
SEP 26, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 26, 2018
Musical Instrument-inspired Chemical Sensor
The connections between art and science are everywhere. To find them one needs a pair of curiosity-driven eyes, or ears. According to a recent article in t...
SEP 27, 2018
Videos
SEP 27, 2018
What's at The Bottom of The Worlds Deepest Lake?
Have you ever wondered what’s at the bottom of the world’s deepest lake? The deepest lake is the ancient Lake Baikal located in southern Russia...
OCT 02, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 02, 2018
Here's What'd Happen if We Detonated a Nuclear Bomb in Space
Have you ever wondered what would happen if humankind detonated its most powerful nuclear bomb in space? If so, then this is a video you’ll want to w...
OCT 03, 2018
Videos
OCT 03, 2018
Understanding Brain Aneurysms
A brain aneurysm is a medical emergency, but many patients don’t understand much about them. First, it’s not the same a clot. An aneurysm is wh...
OCT 06, 2018
Videos
OCT 06, 2018
Learning More About the Genetics of Depression
Volunteers in the UK are participating in the largest study on the biological causes of depression that has ever been conducted....
Loading Comments...