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SOHO view of Mercury heading toward the Sun

SOHO is a satellite that observes the Sun, and produces these incredibly cool videos. The Sun itself is behind an "occulter" which blocks the glare, so you can see fainter objects around it, including planets and stars. The Sun's position is marked by the circle. Venus is the really bright object to the upper left (the lines through it are an artifact of the detector), and you can see Mars off to the right-- planets are easy to spot because they move at different speeds than the stars. Anyway, Mercury comes screaming in from the left, heading right for the Sun-- a prelude to the transit that occurred on November 8. This video goes from Nov. 5 to Nov. 7, 2006. Oh- just below Venus a faint dot also heads into the Sun. That's a comet! For more about this, see my blog at http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2006/11/08/mercury-heading-in/
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