The transit of Mercury in the history of astronomy.

Sigismondi C., Cardoso F., Castiglioni F., Cicogna D., De Bernardis P.
  Mercoledì 28/09   16:30 - 19:00   Edificio Psicologia 2 - Aula 2D   VII - Didattica e Storia della Fisica
Mercury could pass in front of the Sun (Aristotle's planetary model), or not (Plato). Ptolemy was inclined to Aristotle's model but considered it unobservable. Kepler with pinhole projection observed a spot, that he believed to be Mercury in transit, Gassendi succeeded in observing it in 1631. Venus transit of 1761 allowed Lomonossov to discover its atmosphere; this opened in observing it a series of optically perfect observations, exploited in 1980 by Shapiro to study the evolution of the solar diameter along centuries, less than 0.3 arcsec, an analysis wich was upgraded by Sveshnikov in 2002. The transit observed by Gambart in 1832 is examined after our 2016 experience of the second transit of this century on May 9.