The Solar Orbiter spacecraft captured the rare moment when Mercury crossed the Sun.
The moving black dot in this video represents Mercury transiting the Sun on January 3, 2023.
The moving black dot in this video depicts Mercury crossing the Sun on January 3, 2023, recorded by a spacecraft. (Photo: ESA, NASA)
To capture this moment, scientists had to combine 3 high-tech devices from the Solar Orbiter including Polarimeter and seismic imager (PHI), ultraviolet imager (EUI) and spectrometer (SPICE).
The EUI device is responsible for recording video of Mercury as it moves around the Sun, with the solar system’s smallest planet appearing clearly in the video.
In the image provided by PHI, Mercury appears as a dark disk at the bottom right of the planet, topped with sunspots.
By looking for small, dark movements in the bright background of the Sun, scientists can detect exoplanets and use instruments on spacecraft to estimate that planet’s orbital periods and sizes.
Mercury is a small black dot that moves quickly toward the bottom of the solar disk. (Photo: NASA, ESA).
This is what we callis a transit method for detecting exoplanetsthis technique is particularly useful and is frequently used by astronomers.
In June 2023, the European Space Agency (ESA) will get a better look at Mercury as it passes in front of the Sun again.
The Solar Orbiter spacecraft is equipped with high-resolution telescopes to capture images closest to the Sun.
Solar Orbiter’s first close approach to the Sun will take place in March 2022, it will travel about 42 million km from this central planet, about 1/4 of the distance from the Sun to Earth and orbiting towards Mercury.
Article source: Dan Tri
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The Solar Orbiter spacecraft recorded the rare moment Mercury crossed the Sun.