Published: Sat, November 09, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Mercury parading across the sun Monday, putting on rare celestial show

Mercury parading across the sun Monday, putting on rare celestial show

Be safe and enjoy this rare astronomical event.

A rare site will be visible in the sky on Monday, November 11, but you'll need special protection to view it safely. You can get mylar at most locations that sell emergency blankets, including Wal-Mart or Target.

We won't see a Mercury transit again until 2032. This is the first time since 2016, that Mercury will transit the Sun. Mercury only makes this transit about 13 times per century.

Because they orbit closer to the sun than Earth, Mercury and Venus are the only planets that can make solar transits from our perspective. Mercury's speck is so small, and the atmospheric conditions are likely to be so dicey, that it's hardly worth making the attempt even if you're using the solar-filter glasses you saved from 2017's eclipse.

Doors to the observatory will be open at 6 a.m. and the sun should rise about 6:40 a.m., with the transit already in progress. The time of greatest transit, the halfway point, occurs at roughly 10:20 a.m., and the transit will end at roughly 1:04 p.m.

While the next transit of Mercury may be in 2032, Boyd said people living in the US won't have an opportunity to see it again until 2049. Asia and Australia will miss out.

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NASA will broadcast the transit as seen from the orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, with only a brief lag. On Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, Mercury will make another transit, visible from the eastern US and Canada, and all Central and South America.

In many instances, our line of sight is aligned so that telescopes on Earth can detect the tiny dips in starlight as an exoplanet transits its host star.

Weather permitting, the best seats will be in places where the entire transit will happen during daylight hours.

It's this kind of transit that allows scientists to discover alien worlds.

"Transits are a visible demonstration of how the planets move around the sun, and everyone with access to the right equipment should take a look", Mike Cruise, president of the Royal Astronomical Society, said in a statement from England.

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