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Rare Event: Mercury will Transit the Sun on Monday May 9

by Brea Aamoth on May 6th, 2016

Photo by NASA

During the early morning of May 9th, Mercury will transit the sun. This happens about 13 times each century and the next one won’t be until 2019. Transit events are when one of the interior planets (Mercury or Venus) passes in front of the Sun from our perspective on the planet Earth. These events tend to be incredibly rare; Venus will transit twice every 243 years, while Mercury will transit about 13 times each century. Mercury will reach maximum transit just about an hour before the Sun rises here in Hilo. However, if one wakes up early and uses a solar telescope, they would be able to view the last portion of the transit. Please be advised: Only observe this event through a proper solar telescope or by using a pinhole projector.

Below are some helpful links to help you view this rare occasion!

NASA Coverage: http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-to-provide-coverage-of-may-9-mercury-transit-of-the-sun

Time info for seeing the transit in Hilo: http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/hilo

How to build a pinhole projector: http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/make-pinhole-projector.html

 

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