One Cool Thing: Mercury Transiting the Sun in 4K

ICYMI, on Monday the planet Mercury made one of its rare appearances transiting the Sun.  It won’t do that again until 2032, and that one won’t be visible in the U.S.  It was super hard to see, but NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) had several special cameras filming it and on Wednesday they released a new video showing the transit in gorgeous 4K.  The video shows Mercury (the smallest planet — the one closest to the sun) passing in front the Sun using a variety of different imaging tools, in a variety of wavelengths, and through the SDO’s various filters.  And there is also the still photo below that The Washington Post ran of Mercury passing in front of the sun as seen in DC with the Washington Monument in relief.  Mercury is the tiny dot just above the peak of the monument.

Photo: Bill Ingalls, NASA via AP

Up Next

One Cool Thing: NASA Spacecraft Fetches A Rock From Nearby Asteroid

One Cool Thing: NASA Spacecraft Fetches A Rock From Nearby Asteroid

NASA announced that its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully touched down on the near-Earth asteroid Bennu after spending two years orbiting it.  Its task was to grab a sample from the asteroid’s surface with its robotic arm.  Bennu sits 200 million miles from Earth (so close) and NASA’s leadership was thrilled with this latest “first” — the […]

Continue Reading 153 words
One Cool Thing: Fireflies in Space

One Cool Thing: Fireflies in Space

When a second-grade class wondered what would happen if a firefly went to space (would it still be able to light up in zero gravity?) their teacher, Maggie Samudio, helped them get the answer by helping her students send an experiment to space. As the New York Times reported, Blue Origin, the rocket company started […]

Continue Reading 134 words
One Cool Thing: Rewriting the Stars In the Name of Equity and Justice

One Cool Thing: Rewriting the Stars In the Name of Equity and Justice

NASA announced this week that it would be changing the nicknames of any celestial bodies that are inappropriate such as “Eskimo Nebula” and “Siamese Twins Galaxy,” for example.  CNN reported on the decision by the agency to re-examine its use of phrases for planets, galaxies, and other cosmic objects “as part of its commitment to […]

Continue Reading 133 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.