Media release: Today at approximately 7:13 a.m. EDT, the planet Mercury will pass in front of the Sun, as seen from Earth, for the first time in 10 years. Known as a “transit”, the event will continue until 2:41 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Mercury transits are more frequent than Venus transits since Mercury is closer to the Sun, but they are still rare occurrences. Typically 13 or 14 Mercury transits occur each century. Mercury transits can only happen in May or November because those are the only months of the year where the Sun, Earth, and Mercury are properly aligned for the transit. The next one will occur in 2019.
Tellus Science Museum will be observing this event all day. Museum guests are encouraged to visit the Tellus observatory for a real-time experience, weather permitting. Inside the museum, hourly commentary will be provided by Tellus Astronomer David Dundee and other Tellus Museum staff. Plus, enjoy live sky tours in the Bentley Planetarium throughout Mercury’s transit.
If you plan to watch on your own, great care should be taken when observing this event. Never look at the Sun directly without proper eye protection.