PLANETARY SPACE – Mercury Will Offer a Rare Show: Parade In Front Of The Sun

Mercury will offer an unusual celestial show next Monday, when parade in front of the Sun and in view of almost everyone.

The smallest planet in the solar system and the closest to our star will look like a small black dot on Monday when it passes just between Earth and the Sun. Transit will begin at 1235 GMT (7:35 a.m. East Coast Time from the United States).

The event will last 5½ hours and will be visible, with the appropriate equipment and if weather conditions permit, in the eastern part of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. The rest of North America, Europe and Africa can see part of the action. Asia and Australia will miss the show.

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Unlike its transit in 2016, this time Mercury will hit the target, going practically right through the center of our star.

The next transit of Mercury will be until 2032 and the inhabitants of North America will not be able to see it again until 2049. Earthlings only enjoy 13 to 14 transits of Mercury in a century.

For the show on Monday, special eye protection will be needed: telescopes or binoculars with sunscreen are recommended. The glasses that were used in the United States to see the total solar eclipse two years ago can be used again, but with them it would be necessary to have an “exceptional vision” to detect the tiny Mercury, said Alex Young, a solar astrophysicist at NASA.

Although Mercury has a diameter of 4,800 kilometers (3,000 miles), they are nothing compared to the 1.4 million kilometers (864,000 miles) of the Sun.

Although the crossing seems slow, Mercury will pass in front of the Sun at an approximate speed of 241,000 kilometers per hour (150,000 miles per hour).

The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Scientific Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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