Saturday, April 23, 2016

Transit of Mercury – 2016

The tiny inner planet Mercury will be seen passing across the Sun (transit) on 9th May, 2016. Although the event will happen fourteen times this century, the next one visible from India will be in 2032. Hence the 2016 transit is a great opportunity to catch this mini-eclipse and also for us to utilise for astronomy outreach.
The small disk of Mercury on the disk of the Sun | Image © ESO

The Sequence of the Transit:

Monday, 9 May, 2016

Start transit : 16:30 IST → 1/4th transit : 18:30 IST → Mid transit : 20:30 IST → End Transit : 00:32 IST

What will we see?

Path & important times of the Transit for Indian observers.
Path & important times of the Transit for Indian observers.
The event starts at about 4:30 pm and is visible all over India. The first contact occurs at 16:32 IST; however the entrance of the dot may go unnoticed since the contrast at the edge is not sufficient enough. Within minutes the planet Mercury will appear as a tiny dot on the Eastern limb of the solar disc and will become identifiable. Watch out for other sunspots too that may be present.
Mercury will appear as a dot on the solar disc moving roughly from East to West. For an Indian observer this would mean that Mercury will move from the "top" towards the "bottom" of the Sun as it moves towards the western horizon.
As the dot moves inwards the center of the Sun's image, the visibility will improve. Mercury will be at a quarter of its path in front of the Sun at about 18:30 IST. The central point occurs at 20:27 IST when the sun would have set long for us in India.
The best opportunity to view the transiting Mercury is after an hour into the event, when the effect of atmospheric absorption is still not strong enough. The transit continues beyond the sunset. Hence it should be safe to try to look for it or photograph it on the setting Sun. However the size of Mercury being small, recognising it as a black dot requires extra effort. A magnification tool (binocular / telescope) is definitely needed unlike in the case of Venus in 2012, which was strikingly noticeable as a fairly large spot.

Observational constraints:

Regions seeing at least some parts of the transit
Regions seeing at least some parts of the transit: Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic, Antarctica | Image © Time and Date AS
In India, we will catch only the initial part of the transit before sunset. Most of Central and South India will see up to the initial 1/4th of the transit and North and West India will see the initial 3/8th of the transit. The Eastern part of India will see the initial 1/8th of the transit only. This translates to 2 hrs, 3 hrs and 1 hr respectively. Discounting the last hour (haze, clouds, dust, landscape etc), that gives us 1, 2 and 0 hrs respectively. This is what we will have to work with and make the best of.
CityAreaSunset time
SrinagarNorth19:20 IST
ImphalEast17:48 IST
NagpurCentre18:42 IST
BhujWest19:23 IST
MaduraiSouth18:30 IST

Sun Set time for the Kutch Places

Rapar                  19.20
Gandhidham      19.21
Mundra               19.23
Bhuj                     19.23
Mandavi             19.24
Khavada              19.24
Nakhatrana         19.25
Naliya                  19.27
Lakhapat             19.28
Koteshwar           19.29

In addition, it is obvious that since Mercury is only 1/158 of the Sun's apparent diameter, a telescope with a magnification of 50x or more is needed to watch this event. See below for help with this.

Sharing the Transit

If you have a small telescope, know how to project the Sun's image, and have access to a public location from where the western sky can be seen clearly, try and set up an observation by inviting the local community to come and watch the Transit with you. Join us in a nationwide effort to share this spectacle with all people. Please use the form linked below to register your event.

Register your event in a nationwide effort to share this spectacle with all people.

Using Telescope or Binoculars:

A simple projection setup made from a cardboard shield and a piece of white paper as a projection surface.
A simple projection setup made from a cardboard shield and a piece of white paper as a projection surface. Image © Sky & Telescope
Warning: It is very dangerous to observe the Sun through any unfiltered optical system (lenses, binoculars, telescopes & even your bare eye). This may cause serious eye damage and even blindness. The transit observation also involves looking at the sun and hence all the precautions that apply to the observations of Sunspots and Eclipses apply here too and are essential.
* Good quality "Eclipse goggles" (without any tiny holes in them!) may be used, but Mercury will be very hard to spot with the naked eye.
* A better arrangement will be to put Mylar sheets or commercially available Solar filters in front of the objectives of the binoculars / telescopes that you are using. The magnification provided by binocular should suffice to show the event.
* Projections with small telescopes, similar to those done for solar eclipses, would be ideal. We recommend this method as it can give you larger images and they can also be shown to many people.


Here are some more resources about safe viewing methods and accessories :
Here are some informative webpages :

POEC's ToM activities

Aim of the campaign
  • Put out material on transits, and hence eclipses and conjunctions, in the public media. This will help in
    (a) combating superstitions and
    (b) promote general astronomy knowledge
  • To get the public, but especially the students to see the transit in some form or the other
    Use the transit to get students to do Daytime Astronomy experiments
1. Observational
  • Promote observation of this event via workshops or resource material and content for such workshops.
  • Arrange, with help from 4-5 locations around the country (observatories + amateurs) for a live broadcast on the web and on TV.
2. Organisational
  • Bring out a booklet on the history and astronomy of the transit, and how to observe the transit.
  • Translate the booklet and put all the pdfs up online for free.
  • Ask small telescope owners to register with us for showing the Transit to the public.
  • Co-ordiante with media & share the information in relevant circles.
Resource available from :

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mercury Transit 9th May 2016 from Kachchh

Question:-  What is Transit of Mercury?

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.
Transits of Mercury with respect to Earth are much more frequent thantransits of Venus, with about 13 or 14 per century, in part because Mercury is closer to the Sun and orbits it more rapidly.
Transits of Mercury occur in May or November. The last three transits occurred in 1999, 2003 and 2006; the next will occur on May 9, 2016.
On June 3, 2014, the Curiosity rover on the planet Mars observed the planet Mercury transiting the Sun, marking the first time a planetary transit has been observed from a celestial body besides Earth.

we are planning to observe the Transit of Mercury from various places of Kachchh District like Bhuj, Lakhapat, Rapar, Nakhatrana etc

Any interested wants to join or wish helping hand can contact +919428220472 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Geminids proves its Reliability 2015

Geminds proves its Reliability

"This is one more bright horison for developing Astro Tourisum in Kachchh" -Narendra Gor
Story By Narendra Gor
Astronomer from White Rann desert of Kachchh
Good Mornning
congratulations to all enthusiastic who were out in such cold wawe and observed !!!
We were here in Tent City White Rann with the group of 25 persons including Tourists, Tent City Staff and some local persons from Village
All enjoyed spectacular heavenly Shower!!! many of them saw first time in their life.
Sandhya came from Sweden while Ankita travelled from Bangalore to White Rann only to watch the falling stars. This is the third year we go some dark places to watch the Geminids, we love this dark place and want to visit again and again for Star Gazing both said. Why they prefer Geminds only? Ankita Shrivastav said Geminids are very special and reliable! !!
We enjoyed here for two full night under the dark sky!! She added
The counting of meteors reaches 128 in two hours from 11.00pm to1.00am some of them were very faint, some were very bright but no fire ball was seen said Narendra Gor president kutch Astronomy Club and incharge of Star Gazing Activity in Tent City
Enthusiasts people recorded arround 500 meteors up to 5.30am
In the begenning Narendra Gor informed about the meteors and constellation Gemini was also shown by Him
Mr. Manish Adhiya a Manager welcomed all on behalf of White Rann Campaign
Mr. Nishant showed and demonstrate how to take photographs of heavenly bodies, he practically took some photographs of the meteors
Mr. Aarif and Bhimji member of the star gazing team handled the 6 inch Telescope.
More than 70 Tourists visited the Star Gazing site
Mr. Aakil gave a vote of thanks

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How you will See Five Planets Align in the Morning Sky

How to See Five Planets Align in the Morning Sky

If you look at the right time, the moon will also be a part of the cosmic parade.

Skywatchers will soon have a rare opportunity to view five bright planets in the morning sky. 

Over the next two weeks, five planets will line up for a cosmic dance that will dazzle skywatchers all over the world.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are aligning for the first time in over a decade, and there’s no need for telescopes or binoculars to see the event, since all five planets will look like bright stars in the morning twilight.

On January 28, the moon will join the five visible planets in the dawn sky, first stopping by Jupiter, high in the sky
While many early risers may have noticed some of the planets days ago, the best time to look will be from Saturday, January 23 through the end of the first week of February.

During those days, there will be a narrow window in which to catch Mercury in line with the others. If you look too early, it’ll be hidden below the horizon. If you look too late, it’ll be washed out by sunlight. The prime time to see it and the other planets will be about 30 to 60 minutes before local sunrise. Since Mercury will be very low in the southeast
(the same direction as the rising sun), make sure to find a viewing spot with a clear view of the horizon.

Venus, the brightest of all the visible planets, will appear to the upper right of Mercury.
On January 22nd, the two planets will be separated by about 10 degrees, equal to about the width of your fist at arm’s length.
By February 10 the two planets will be less than 5 degrees apart, or about the width of your three middle fingers at arm’s length.

The planetary alignment visible in Earth’s skies is due to the relative positions of the planets in their orbits around the sun.


The other three planets will be further to the upper right of Venus. Yellow-colored Saturn, a bit dimmer than Venus, comes first. If you have a telescope, this will be a good time to train it at Saturn and marvel at the planet’s magnificent rings and brighter moons.

Mars will appear to Saturn’s right, looking bright orange, with Jupiter off to its far upper right, completing the alignment high in the sky. Binoculars will show off Jupiter’s four largest moons, which were first seen by Galileo in 1609 with the newly invented telescope.

The entire lineup of planets spans some 110 degrees—more than half of the locally visible skyline.
The planets’ simultaneous visibility in one part of our sky is due to their positions in their respective orbits relative to Earth and the Sun.

By February 6, the thin crescent moon will pose with brilliant Venus and Mercury low in the southeast at dawn.

As an added bonus, the moon will play cosmic hopscotch, jumping from one planet to the next, offering an amazing photo opportunity for sky hounds.

The moon will first pair up with Jupiter on January 27 and 28, then it will park itself next to Mars on February 1,
Saturn on February 3, Venus on February 5, and finally Mercury on February 6.

If you miss this alignment, your next chance to so easily see a grand parade of five planets will be in July 2020.

Clear skies!
For more information
Whatsap 9428220472
Narendra Gor
Kutch Astronomy Club


Monday, November 23, 2015