I emailed the sungrazer website. Got an answer 7/3, but I was out of town.
Sent: Thu 7/2/2009 10:27 PM
There is an object to the right of the sun in this stereo image. There is whole big discussion about what it is
A few of us think it is Mercury. Others seem to think its some big unknown planet thats going
to hit the sun and kill us all according to a cropcircle prediction. Yes, I know how silly it sounds. I need a simple explanation (in small words) to
make them understand that we're not going to die next week. I'm sure week after it will be some new disaster. Can you help me out? Feel free to join
Thanks for your time.
Ah, we tried hard to keep this under wraps but it looks like the news is out now. Yes, we're all doomed!
OK, just kidding!
Seriously, you folks are correct -- it is indeed Mercury. There's a bunch of ways to prove it. The STEREO-B spacecraft is currently ~48-degrees
"Behind" Earth in Earth's orbit, and so if you look at an overview of where the inner solar system planets are right now, you'll see that Mercury
is right in line with where the STEREO-B spacecraft is looking (namely, at the Sun). You can also see this here:
(at time of writing, that image is actually for June 29, not July 2, but the difference is minimal). If people
are not trusting of our diagrams, any planetarium/solar system software will show exactly the same thing.
Furthermore, we have seen this countless times as Mercury (and Venus, and Jupiter, and Mars, and...) pass through our imagers a bunch of times per
year. In fact Mercury and Venus are *always* visible in at least one of our cameras (usually the heliospheric imagers).
Hope this helps. Happy 4th of July (assuming you're in the US...)
[edit on 7/5/2009 by Pauligirl] For whatever reason, I can't get a bigger font to show up. Oh well.
[edit on 7/5/2009 by Pauligirl]