Transit of Mercury From Saturn

A transit of Mercury across the Sun as seen from Saturn takes place when the planet Mercury passes directly between the Sun and Saturn, obscuring a small part of the Sun's disc for an observer on Saturn. During a transit, Mercury can be seen from Saturn as a small black disc moving across the face of the Sun.

Naturally, no one has ever seen a transit of Mercury from Saturn, nor is this likely to happen in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the next one will take place on 27 September, 2012.

A transit could be observed from the surface of one of Saturn's moons rather than from Saturn itself. The times and circumstances of the transits would naturally be slightly different.

The Mercury-Saturn synodic period is 88.694 days. It can be calculated using the formula 1/(1/P-1/Q), where P is the sidereal orbital period of Mercury (87.968 days) and Q is the orbital period of Saturn (10746.940 days).

The inclination of Mercury's orbit with respect to Saturn's ecliptic is 6.38°, which is less than its value of 7.00° with respect to Earth's ecliptic.

Transits of Mercury from Saturn are empirically observed to occur in clusters, with two such clusters every 30 years or so.

The transit that occurred on 21 March, 1894 was particularly interesting, because it happened on the same day as transits of Venus from Saturn and of Mercury from Venus. But no two of the transits were simultaneous. Also interesting is the event of 9 December, 2056, when Mercury barely misses transiting the Sun, and Venus begins a transit about six hours later.

Note: the image linked to in the following table does not take into account the finite speed of light. The distance of Mercury from Saturn at inferior conjunction is approximately 9.3 AU or about 80 light-minutes. It will take about 8 hours for Mercury to transit across the Sun, thus the image corresponds fairly closely to what would actually be seen by an observer on Saturn.

Transits of Mercury from Saturn
4 March, 1998
1 June, 1998
28 August, 1998
25 November, 1998
21 February, 1999
30 December, 2011
28 March, 2012
25 June, 2012
22 September, 2012
22 July, 2027
19 October, 2027
15 January, 2028
13 April, 2028
10 July, 2028
15 August, 2041
12 November, 2041
9 February, 2042
7 March, 2057
3 June, 2057
31 August, 2057
28 November, 2057
2 January, 2071
1 April, 2071
29 June, 2071
26 September, 2071
25 July, 2086
22 October, 2086
18 January, 2087
17 April, 2087
22 May, 2100
19 August, 2100
16 November, 2100
13 February, 2101


Transit visibility from planets superior to the transiting body
Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune

Mercury

Mercury
Venus

Mercury
Venus
Earth

Mercury
Venus
Earth
Mars

Mercury
Venus
Earth
Mars
Jupiter

Mercury
Venus
Earth
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn

Mercury
Venus
Earth
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
Uranus

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