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May 9–10, 2016 Mercury Transit

This Transit of Mercury was visible for at least several hours in most of the world, including the US, Canada, Europe, South America, Africa, and most of Asia.

The Transit was not visible to the naked eye – you needed specialized viewing equipment to see it. Never look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection. You can seriously hurt your eyes and even go blind.

Was this transit visible in Washington DC?

2016 Mercury Transit Animation

This is how the 2016 Mercury Transit looked close to the center of the area where it was visible. Note: The location was in the Northern Hemisphere. The transit path can vary depending on your location. The curvature of the planet's path is due to the Earth's rotation.

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Where the Transit Was Seen

Try our new interactive eclipse maps. Zoom in and search for accurate eclipse times and visualizations for any location.

Mercury's path in front of the Sun is almost a horizontal line. However, throughout the day, the angle from which we observe the Sun from Earth, makes it look like it passes in a curve (see animation). Exactly how it looks, varies according to your location on Earth.

Where the 2016 Mercury Transit Was Seen

Regions seeing at least some parts of the transit: Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic, Antarctica.

Expand for some cities that could see at least part of the full transit

Was this transit visible in Washington DC?

Who Could See the Transit

Shades of darkness


Astronomical Twilight (Sun was 12 - 18 degrees below the horizon)

Nautical Twilight (Sun was 6 - 12 degrees below the horizon)

Civil Twilight (Sun was 0 - 6 degrees below the horizon)


Entire transit visible

Parts of transit visible (Sun rose or set during transit)

Transit not visible

When the 2016 Mercury Transit Happened Worldwide — Timeline

It is the longest Transit of Mercury transit this century lasting about seven and a half hours. The last one which was longer was in May 1970. In May 2095, there will be another almost as long.

Planet transits are normally visible from all locations where the Sun is up. However, because of different viewing angles, the start and end times can vary by a few minutes. The times below are actual times (in UTC) when the transit is visible.

Eclipse Stages WorldwideUTC TimeLocal Time in Washington DC*
First location that saw the partial transit beginMay 9 at 11:10:18May 9 at 7:10:18 am
Geocentric** partial transit began (ingress, exterior contact)May 9 at 11:12:10May 9 at 7:12:10 am
First location that saw the full transit beginMay 9 at 11:13:30May 9 at 7:13:30 am
Geocentric** full transit began (ingress, interior contact)May 9 at 11:15:22May 9 at 7:15:22 am
Mercury was closest to the Sun's centerMay 9 at 14:57:25May 9 at 10:57:25 am
Geocentric** full transit ended (egress, interior contact)May 9 at 18:39:20May 9 at 2:39:20 pm
Last location that saw full transit endMay 9 at 18:41:13May 9 at 2:41:13 pm
Geocentric** transit ended (egress, exterior contact)May 9 at 18:42:32May 9 at 2:42:32 pm
Last location that saw partial transit endMay 9 at 18:44:24May 9 at 2:44:24 pm

* These local times do not refer to a specific location but indicate the beginning, peak, and end of the eclipse on a global scale, each line referring to a different location. Please note that the local times for Washington DC are meant as a guideline in case you want to view the transit via a live webcam. See the actual times the transit is visible in Washington DC.

** The geocentric times refer to a theoretical situation where the transit is viewed from the Earth's center. They are used to provide an approximately average time schedule for astronomical events. Because of varying perspectives, observers on the Earth's surface will experience the transit at slightly different times depending on their location.

Geocentric duration of this Mercury Transit is 7 hours, 30 minutes, 22 seconds.

Transits and eclipses visible in Washington DC

Previous Venus Transit was on Jun 5 – Jun 6, 2012.

Next Mercury Transit will be on Nov 11, 2019

Eclipse calculations usually accurate to a few seconds