Special Viewing of Transit of Mercury

James Marshall
November 5, 2019

Venus is the only other planet to transit as Venus and Mercury are between the sun and Earth.

Just like the solar eclipse in 2017, special glasses or filters will be required to view the transit. (Mercury and Venus are the only two planets to do so).

This particular event only happens about 13 to 14 times per century.

The last time this happened was 2016.

The transit of Mercury will begin at 12.35pm GMT on November 11 when Mercury's outline will appear to touch the edge of the Sun. Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, and so it speeds around its orbit once every 88 days. Usually, Mercury only passes below or above the Sun. The position of Mercury over time was determined from radio tracking data obtained while NASA's MESSENGER mission was active. You can find out more about the rare occurrence and how to view the upcoming one on NASA's official site here.

This Mercury transit will occur on Mon., Nov. 11, starting at 7:35 a.m. with the sun very low in the southeast sky.

Mercury's proximity to the sun and small size make it exquisitely sensitive to the dynamics of the sun and its gravitational pull.

You see, the planets in our solar system all orbit the Sun in orbits that are similar, except for Pluto, which isn't a regular planet, but that's for another day.

If you are not able to access safe and proper equipment, there are several ways to look at the event online, including NASA's Mercury Transit website, which will provide videos and images. You might also be able to attend a viewing party at a local museum or astronomy club event.

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