Planetary Transit of Mercury (2019)
As seen from Earth, Mercury appears to cross the disk of the sun — an event known as a transit — only about 13 times per century. Currently, transits of Mercury always occur in either May or November with spring transits only occurring about a third of the time. In May, Mercury is closer to us, allowing for better measurements.
Designed by Arpin Pierre, this tartan was designed for the last transit of Venus which occurred in June 2012, with the colours chosen representing: Black for the black spot of Mercury or Venus; Canary Yellow for the sun's natural color; Bright Scarlet for the sun's chromosphere; and Persian Blue for the blue sky around the sun during a favorable viewing day.
The plane of Mercury's 88-day orbit around the sun doesn't quite line up with the plane of Earth's orbit, so the smaller planet appears to pass above or below the disk of the sun most of the time. The last transit of Mercury took place in 2006, and the next one in 2019.
The planet's pass across Earth's nearest star may provide information about its thin atmosphere, assist in the hunt for worlds around other stars, and help NASA hone some of its instruments.
To see more images and video of this transit, click the image below of the May 9, 2016 of Mercury against the disk of the sun.