Mercury Crossing the Sun This Wednesday

Mercury is passing between the Earth and the sun this Wednesday, and will be visible to North America, South America, Australia and Asia as a small dot on the lower part of the sun. You would need a properly-filtered telescope (or camera lens) to view it, though. Still it’s something astronomy buffs might get excited about.

Mercury will travel between the sun and Earth in a way that makes it appear to cross – in astronomy the word is “transit” – the bottom third of the sun from left to right.

Mercury’s five-hour trek starts at 2:12 p.m. EST. People in Western time zones of the United States should be able to see the entire trip.

Transit of Mercury, 2003 (via CNN)

The last Transit of Mercury was in May 2003 (image above), and this phenomenon occurs about 13 times in one century. It won’t be as dramatic as a solar or lunar eclipse (it’s only a small dot!) but it’s something to look forward to if you’re interested in planetary alignments.

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