Multi-Wavelength Observations of the Mercury Transit of November 1999The Mercury transit of the Sun, 15 November 1999, was observed at the Prairie View Solar Observatory (PVSO) and with three channels of the TRACE satellite. These CCD observations enabled an objective study of the historic Black Drop under different conditions and with different filters. The Black Drop phenomenon has a much subtler counterpart referred to as the 'Gray Drop phenomenon', of which the former is a more prominent component of the latter. The optical causes of both effects are very similar and appear to require a sharp, uniform boundary of sufficient contrast (e.g. the solar limb against a sky at least as dark as the center of Mercury's disk), coupled with a blurring agent. Without all these conditions in place, the visibility of the Black Drop is greatly reduced or eliminated. Such was the case of the transit as observed with Ha at line center, the TRACE UV (1600A) channel, and the EUV (171A) channel. This suppression of visibility in these cases was due to the contrast-lowering background of the chromosphere or corona.
Cudnik, B. M. (Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical Coll. TX, United States)