How you can watch the rare transit of Mercury

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – On Monday, May 9, you’ll have the opportunity to witness one of the biggest and rarest astronomical events of the year: the transit of Mercury.

What is it?

The “transit of Mercury” means that Mercury will pass directly between the sun and Earth, and as a result, it will partially eclipse the sun.

Why is it significant?

This astronomical event only occurs 13 times every century. The last time it occurred was in 2006. And the next time it will occur is November 2019.

When can I watch it?

According to NASA, the transit will begin on Monday morning around 7:15 a.m. EDT. The transit will last over seven hours, so everyone in the US will be able to observe the event. In fact, with the exception of Australia, New Zealand, and several areas of eastern Asia, nearly everyone on earth will be able to view the transit.

How Can I watch it?

Technically, you can see the transit without a telescope or any equipment, but you should never stare directly at the sun! Your best bet is to use a telescope with a safe solar filter. If you don’t have access to a good telescope, you can witness the entire transit in real time on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory website.

Additionally if you’re in Bloomington, the Kirkwood Observatory will be open for visitors until 3 p.m.

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