Mercury to put in a rare appearance
12th Nov 1999
Solar maximum is just around the corner, which means that the Sun is peppered with sunspots. Just today there were 5 groups and at least 50 individual spots visible on the surface of our star. Sunspots -- cool areas created by twisted magnetic field lines poking through the sun's surface -- move rather slowly. They're usually visible for about two weeks as they move from east to west with the solar rotation. On Monday, November 15, observers in the Pacific hemisphere can catch a glimpse of a different kind of sunspot -- a black dot that zips across the sun in little more than an hour. It's not really a sunspot; it's Mercury, the nearest planet to the sun!
ABOVE : This white light image of the sun shows several sunspot groups
on November 12, 1999. On Monday, November 15, another tiny dark spot
will appear briefly near the Sun's northeastern limb when the planet
Mercury crosses in front of the Sun.
an emissary solution