In a rare event that only happens 13 times every century, Mercury completed its journey across the sun this morning, leaving a tiny black dot in front of the sun. The last time this happened was a decade ago, in 2006.
Mercury will not make another transit until 2019 and then 2032.
To watch the Mercury transit simply by staring at the sky with the naked eye would be impossible, not to mention dangerous. To spot it, you’ll need a special telescope or very high-powered binoculars with solar filters to see the event.
Mercury’s transit across the sun began just after 7 a.m. Eastern this morning. The tiny planet reached about midway across the sun around 10:47 a.m. Eastern and it finished its transit around 2:47 p.m. Eastern, according to Space.com. If you missed it, check out the replay.
Live shot from NASA of Mercury transiting the sun this morning:
Mercury spins around the Sun every 88 days, but its orbit is a bit tilted compared to the Earth’s orbit, so it is relative rare for the three bodies to line up for us to see.
From western Europe, north-western Africa and much of the Americas, Mercury’s seven-and-a-half-hour journey across the Sun was visible in its entirety. Other parts of the world caught bits and pieces. The only people who had to miss out completely are the folks in Australasia, far eastern Asia and Antarctica.
Well, they can always catch up with Mercury on YouTube.