Lunchtime Photo

Today was the day of the great Mercury transit of the sun. Obviously NASA is the place to go for pictures of this event, which is, to be honest, not super exciting. However, I was curious whether my little camera could capture the transit.

I wasn’t hopeful, and when I woke up in the morning there was a solid marine layer filling the sky. So much for catching even the middle of the transit. But by 9:30 the clouds had burned off so I puttered out to my backyard to point my camera at the sun and see what I could get.

For you camera nerds out there, my settings were f/11, ISO 100, shutter speed 1/32000, and a 10x neutral density filter. And that was barely enough.

But enough it was. To my surprise, I got some perfectly decent pictures. Here’s my earliest one, with Mercury nearing the end of its transit. You can see it a lot better if you right-click and then select “View Image.”

November 11, 2019 — Irvine, California

Here it is a few minutes later:

Now it’s getting very close to the edge of the sun:

And finally it’s officially egressing the sun, just a barely visible dot at the very edge of the corona:

And that’s it. The next transit of Mercury is in 2032. Mark your calendars.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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