Mercury to Make 'Transit' Across Sun Today for Last Time Until 2032
- Author: Douglas Reid Nov 13, 2019,
Nov 13, 2019, 12:50
Monday morning, as the sun rose over Baton Rouge, Mercury took center stage in a selection of cosmic choreography that occurs only thirteen times per century.
Astronomers and space enthusiasts watched as Mercury made a rare transit of the sun on Monday.
"Transiting planets outside our Solar System are a key part of how we look for exoplanets", NASA wrote in a blog post.
The eastern USA and Canada got the whole 5 1/2-hour show, weather permitting, along with Central and South America.
Looking at the sun without appropriate protection, either during the transit or at any other time, can cause serious and permanent damage to the eyes.
Mercury, the smallest planet in our solar system, began its transit around 5:30 a.m., a journey that takes more than 5 hours to complete.
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But keep in mind to not look directly into the sun as doing so can cause blindness.
Those planning to watch today's event from the ground need binoculars or a telescope with a certified Sun filter; solar glasses are not enough.
Mercury is 3,000 miles in diameter, compared with the sun's 864,000 miles.
"That's really close to the limit of what you can see", he told AP. "So Mercury's going to probably be too small".
According to NASA, the Solar Dynamics Observatory's website ' will be showing "near real-time" images of the transit, so you don't have to miss this rare event, no matter where you are.
Quoting Professor Mike Cruise, president of the Royal Astronomical Society, Daily mail reports that this occurrences are a visible demonstration of how the planets move around the Sun. "So far, TESS has discovered 29 confirmed exoplanets using transits-with over 1,000 more candidates being studied by scientists".
"Another use of transits is the dimming of Sun or starlight as a planet crosses in front of it".