Mercurian Monday

If you haven’t already heard, Mercury is going to transit the Sun this coming Monday! It’s like a solar eclipse, except Mercury is covering the Sun instead of the Moon.  And since Mercury is tiny and far away, it’s not so much ‘covering’ the Sun as it is passing across the face of the Sun in a barely perceptible way.

Mercury transit combined images from 2003. Image Credit & Copyright: Dominique Dierick

The transit takes approximately 7 hours start to finish, and will occur on Monday, May 9th, 2016 from 7:12am to 2:42 pm EDT.

If you miss this one, you can catch the next one in 2019.  They happen a dozen times a century, a bit more often than Venus transits, which are 125 years apart.  The amazing thing is that you can only ever see a Mercury transit in May or November, at least right now.  They are drifting forward in the year, though it will take awhile before they move months.  Back in 1585 they occurred in April and October.

NASA is doing a live stream of the event if you want to watch from the comfort of your own home.  But with a good pair of eyes and some solar glasses, get outside and soak up the Sun, provided the weather holds!

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