In a rare event that only happens about 13 times a century, Mercury will be crossing in front of the sun this morning, leaving a tiny black spot in front of the sun. The last time this happened was in 2006. Because of Mercury’s small size, you’ll need a special telescope or very high-powered binoculars with solar filters to see the event. You never want to look directly into the sun without special eyewear, so any telescope or binoculars you use will need special-coated glass or Mylar to protect against the sun. But with all the livestreams of the event available, you won’t even need to leave your computer if you don’t want to. (See photos of the event here.)
Here’s what you need to know.
When the Mercury Transit Will Occur
Mercury’s transit across the sun will begin just after 7 a.m. Eastern on Monday morning. The tiny planet will reach about midway across the sun around 10:47 a.m. Eastern and it will finish its transit around 2:47 p.m. Eastern, according to Space.com. The Eastern United States will be able to see Mercury for the entire 7+ hours. The western U.S. will be able to see the transit after sunrise, although it will already be underway at that time.
The livestream embedded at the top of this story is from Slooh.com and starts at 7 a.m. Eastern. Slooh is partnering with observatories around the world, including Dubai and the Canary Islands, to provide the best views on its livestream.
Here’s a look at where Mercury will be and at what time:
NASA Livestreams of the Mercury Transit
NASA is also providing several livestreams of its own. According to its NASA TV Schedule, the Education channel below will be showing live, raw feed from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory of Mercury’s transit from 6 a.m. Eastern to 2 p.m. (On another schedule online, NASA lists the live feed as starting at 7 a.m. Eastern, so if you don’t see it at 6 a.m., check back in an hour.) You can watch that feed below:
Meanwhile, NASA’s Media channel will host live interviews with NASA scientists as they talk about Mercury’s transit, from 5 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. below. (On NASA’s website in another location, it lists the time of the interview as 6 a.m.):
At 10:30 a.m. Eastern, NASA will host a live panel discussion about the Mercury Transit on its Public station below:
Want to learn more about the Mercury transit? Check out NASA’s video below:
Other Mercury Transit Livestreams
If you’re interested in watching coverage of the livestream from a different country’s space agency, you can watch the European Space Agency’s coverage at this link. It starts around 12:30 p.m. Eastern.
In addition, Kirkwood Observatory at Indiana University will be hosting its own livestream starting at 11 a.m. local time, until 3 p.m. The livestream will begin at this link. If that link doesn’t work, check for a new link at this location.
MIT’s Wallace Observatory is also livestreaming its own Mercury Transit feeds at this link and below:
Sky and Telescope is hosting a livestream at this link.
To see photos of the Mercury transit, please visit:
To see photos and videos of recent tornadoes, please see:
Read more about this historic event in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com: