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Rare transit of Mercury: How to watch safely as the planet passes in front of the Sun

NASA
NASA

(NEW YORK) — Mercury will pass in front of the sun on Monday, appearing as a dark spot moving across the star’s bright surface.

The cosmic event, which is called a transit, will last for roughly 5.5 hours and started at 7:35 a.m. ET.

Unlike a solar eclipse, you can’t see Mercury’s transit with the naked eye. But stargazers have to take precautions.

NASA recommends heading to a local astronomy club to use a “specialized, properly-filtered solar telescope.”

“You cannot use a regular telescope or binoculars in conjunction with solar viewing glasses,” according to NASA.

Good morning, Sunshine! ☀️

Today, Mercury will pass between the Earth & the Sun, silhouetting it against our home star. This passage will begin at approximately 7:35am ET and last for more than five hours. Here’s how you can watch the #MercuryTransit: https://t.co/ZPf6Kf98Pa pic.twitter.com/xnE9QdNuMu

— NASA (@NASA) November 11, 2019

Mercury in transit is a major event, and a rare one. We won’t be able to see the transit again until 2032.

If you can’t make it to your local astronomy club, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory will be posting close-up images of the transit, and Slooh is livestreaming the event.

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