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Mercury Transit across the Sun as Observed with "Hinode"

The Mercury transit event across the Sun that took place in the morning of 9 November 2006 JST was successfully observed in great detail with the three telescope instruments aboard Hinode satellite. Panels below show images from Hinode for the episode around the contact of Marcury to the solar disk (i.e., around first and second contacts).

Figure 1:

Mercury transit observed with Hinode Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) where Mercury is clearly discernible as a dark disk with its diameter approximately 10 seconds of arc.

Figure 2:

Observation with Hinode X-Ray Telescope (XRT), showing transit of Mercury across the background X-ray corona of the Sun.

XRT-1

XRT-2

Each telescope is at this moment still under the stage of continuous adjustment and optimization after the launch to achieve its best-possible performance on orbit. Hence it should be noted the images presented here are not necessarily taken with the highest optical performance the relevant telescope would exhibit. Further improvement of image quality would be expected as the adjustment progresses.

All the telescope instruments aboard Hinode have so far been successfully performing their initial engineering observations. Mercury transit data acquired this time will be helpful for the adjustment of telescope optics as well as calibrating alignment information of the instruments.

November 9, 2006