Solar System Planetary Transits
Half million years catalog
BC 250,000 – AD 250,000
In astronomy, a planetary transit is when a planet closer to the Sun passes in front of the Sun's disc as seen from a more distant planet. From the Earth, transits of Mercury and Venus are visible; recently, observers were treated to these spectacles in back-to-back years: 2006 and 2004. The farther the planet is from the Sun, the more frequently transits occur.
During the 500 000 years interval from 250 000 BC to 250 000 AD a total of 1 778 245 planetary transits occur, making on average one in three months. The last time a planetary transit took place on AD 2012 Feb 26 on Jupiter when Mercury transited. The next time will be on AD 2012 Mar 28 on Saturn when Mercury will transit.
Recent and Upcoming Transits
AD 2012 Mar 28 12:20 Transit of Mercury on Saturn AD 2012 May 06 11:34 Transit of Venus on Saturn AD 2012 Jun 06 01:31 Transit of Venus on Earth AD 2012 Jun 25 08:10 Transit of Mercury on Saturn AD 2012 Sep 20 09:54 Transit of Venus on Jupiter AD 2012 Sep 22 04:16 Transit of Mercury on Saturn AD 2012 Dec 18 07:37 Transit of Mercury on Venus AD 2012 Dec 21 17:31 Transit of Venus on Saturn
On some rare occasions several transits can be processing simultaneously – Solar System Simultaneous Planetary Transits.
The following table shows the number of planetary transits experienced on every planet during the investigated interval.
|On \ Of||Mercury||Venus||Earth||Mars||Jupiter||Saturn||Uranus||Total on|
The longest interval between two consecutive planetary transits is more than six years – 2,232 days elapse between transits of Mercury on Jupiter (AD 116,523 Jun 30) and on Saturn (AD 116,529 Aug 09).
The shortest interval between two consecutive transits of Mercury is 347 days = 3 synodic periods. The last such instance was when the transit on BC 244,879 Nov 26 was followed by the BC 244,878 Nov 09 transit.
The shortest interval between two consecutive transits of Venus is 2,919 days = 5 synodic periods = 8 years.
The longest interval between two consecutive transits of Venus is 169.5 years ~ 106 synodic periods. The last such instance was when the transit on BC 117,115 Jan 12 was followed by the BC 116,946 Jul 05 transit.
The current catalog is an extension of the former Fifteen millennium catalog, inspired by the challenge of Quarter Million Year Canon of Solar System Transits that "There are no events in the canon in which three main planets (excluding the Moon) are simultaneously in transit from an outer planet". Unfortunately there are neither such events in the present catalog, though covering twice longer period and considering grazing transits. Nevertheless, the closest miss of a triple transit occured on BC 184,694 Oct 28 on Jupiter, when transits of Mercury, Venus and Earth happened within 24 hours! The transit of Earth ended 13h 29m before thesimultaneous transit of Mercury and Venus began. The chronology of events is given below.
BC 184,694 Oct 27 10:10 Transit of Earth begins BC 184,694 Oct 27 17:11 Transit of Earth ends BC 184,694 Oct 28 00:44 Transit of Venus begins BC 184,694 Oct 28 06:40 Transit of Mercury begins BC 184,694 Oct 28 10:26 Transit of Venus ends BC 184,694 Oct 28 13:09 Transit of Mercury ends
Explanation of the catalog
In the first column the Calendar Date and Time in the scale of Terrestrial Time of the mid-transit (a.k.a. greatest transit) can be found, followed by either "C", "G" or "g" letter revealing the type of transit. The most common "C" stands for central transits, i.e. transits in which the transiting planet is entirely within the solar disk at the instant of greatest transit. Type "G" transits are grazing transits in which for some portion of the outer planet a central transit is visible, while for others only a partial is visible. Type "g" are transits in which for some portion of the outer planet only a partial transit is visible, while for other locations there is no transit at all. In the next column the approximated duration of transit is given in hours and minutes format. Sun's coordinated (Right Ascension and Declination) for the outer planet are given for the instant of greatest transit. In the next column the minimum separation between centers of Sun and transiting planet is displayed, in seconds of arc. Finally, in last two columns the apparent semi-diameters of Sun and transiting planet can be found.
|Solar System Planetary Transits|