On Nov. 8, 2006, astronomy enthusiasts around the world peered into solar telescopes and watched the tiny black disk of a planet glide in front of the Sun. It was a rare Transit of Mercury.

Since then, we've received hundreds of pictures of the transit--made with everything from simple pencil and paper to the most sophisticated H-alpha filters and digital cameras. From a field of many fine and splendid entries, we've selected a few as winners of the Transit of Mercury Photo (and Art) Contest.

1st place: Phillip Jones of Dallas, Texas. Phil used a Coronado SolarMax90 H-alpha filter to capture this beautifully detailed image of Mercury's silhouette. Sunspot 923, a wispy prominence and a star-field of bubbling granules provided the perfect backdrop:
2nd place: Chris Go of Cebu City, the Philippines. Using a Coronado MaxScope60, Chris captured Mercury's exit from the solar disk. While the limb of the sun was foreshortened, "the disk of Mercury was round all the way out!" says Go: movie.  
3nd place: Pat Stoker of Anaheim, California. In a moment of perfect timing, Pat caught Mercury passing directly in front of a solar prominence: image. Pat used a Solar Spectrum H-alpha filter.

1st place: Dan McLaughlin of Orland Park, Illinois, gets bonus points for originality. His canvas was a dome-shaped brass pin, on which he drew the Transit of Mercury using colored pencils:
2nd place: Jeff Polzin of St. Jacobs, Ontario sketched the transit using Chalk pastel on charcoal: image. "I prefer to work in pastel for the subtle to vivid transition in color that seems unattainable in other mediums," he says.
Also, we extend special thanks to artist Mark Seibold of Troutdale, Oregon, whose fantastic pastel sketch of the 1999 Transit of Mercury inspired this contest. Truly, the sun is an objet d'art and we look forward to more pins and paintings and sketches in the future.

See all the entries:
2006 Transit of Mercury
Photo Gallery


2006 Transit of Mercury
Photo Gallery
Meade Instruments Corp. has generously contributed prizes for the contest: Gift certificates may be applied to purchases of telescopes, binoculars, H-alpha filters--in short, any Meade or Coronado Filters product.
1st place: $500 Meade gift certificate
2nd place: $250 gift certificate
3rd place: $100 gift certificate
Drawings & sketches
1st place: $250 Meade gift certificate
2nd place: 1 free year of Spaceweather PHONE
Employees of Meade Instruments, Coronado Filters or Spaceweather.com are not eligible.