Mercury to glide across the Sun on November 11

A screen-shot of the video shared by NASA

A screen-shot of the video shared by NASA

The transit ends at 11:04 a.m., when Mercury finishes crossing the sun and disappears from view.

Mercury will transit the Sun for the first time since 2016 this coming Monday.

The smallest planet's eccentric orbit means it doesn't often pass in front of the Sun from Earth's vantage point.

Mercury transit 2019 will be seen from Middle East, Africa, and Europe at sunset time, while it will be seen from Eastern and Central America at noon and from U.S. and Canada at sunrise, the full duration of transit will be 5 hours and 30 minutes, Dr Marzouk added. When measuring the brightness of far-off stars, a slight recurring dip in the light curve (a graph of light intensity) could indicate an exoplanet orbiting and transiting its star.

Prof. Mike Cruise, president of the Royal Astronomical Society said, "This is a rare event, and we'll have to wait 13 years until it happens again.Transits are a visible demonstration of how the planets move around the Sun". Earthlings get treated to just 13 or 14 Mercury transits a century.

After observing the transit of Mercury in 1677, Edmond Halley predicted that transits could be used to accurately measure the distance between the Sun and Earth, which wasn't known at the time. Well, I'd advise against staring directly into the Sun and even more strongly against staring into the Sun through binoculars or a telescope.

Hopefully you'll have an opportunity to watch the transit on Monday.

WARNING! Looking at the Sun directly or through a telescope without proper protection can lead to serious and permanent vision damage. The last transit of Venus was in June of 2012, and the next will occur in December of 2117.

However, some binos and scopes have filters on the front that block out enough sunlight that you can safely look through them, including the solar telescopes at Science North. And, of course, to be visible, the transit must occur in daylight for your spot on the Earth. If you don't have those tools, check if a local astronomy club will be hosting a public viewing.

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.

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