Next week, there’s a rare astronomical event that can be seen in the sky of North Wales. Mercury, which is the smallest planet in the solar system, is also the closest one to our star. From time to time, it crosses in front of the Sun. Now, you can also see it.
We have written this article to give you some advice on how to quickly and safely watch the ‘Transit of Mercury.’
When can you see it?
Mercury will pass across the sun on the 11th of November, which is a rare event that won’t be seen again until 2032. Mercury starts its journey across the Sun at 12.30 pm on the 11th of November, and it will take it about 5 hours, five and a half, and it will end at 6.30 pm, as per NASA.
Of course, the planet will look like a tiny stain on the Sun as Earth passes Mercury’s small shadow.
How can you safely watch it?
You won’t be able to see it with your naked eye – you will need a piece of special equipment: binoculars or telescopes with protective solar filters. If you don’t have access to these, there are many other ways.
NASA’s scientists will help you on this one: you will be able to see it right from your computer. Starting midday, as Mercury moves over the Sun, SDO will start recording videos and taking pictures of the transit and will be added to NASA’s Mercury Transit website.
Mercury and Venus are the only two planets that can pass or transit the Sun as seen from Earth. This happens due to their orbits, which are between the sun and Earth’s orbit. The average distance of Mercury from the Sun is of 35,983,095 miles – 30% the average distance between the Sun and the Earth.