Beyond the Weather: Transit of Mercury


Those looking towards the sun on Monday may notice a tiny black disc moving across the glowing orb in a rare celestial event.

This will be the fourth of only 14 transits of Mercury that will occur during the 21st century.


Astronomy club members will have telescopes with special solar filters on hand to allow safe viewing of the event.

The entire event is visible from the eastern United States and Canada, the south-western tip of Greenland, most of the Caribbean, central America, the whole of South America and some of west Africa.

And as previously mentioned, if you still have your solar glasses from the solar eclipse of 2017, then feel free to use them to see if you can spot Mercury's tiny disk against the sun.

Mercury and Venus are the only planets that can appear to pass in front of, or transit, the sun as seen from Earth, because their orbits are between the sun and Earth's orbit. Astronomers used transits to gain a better understanding of the size of the planets and their distance from Earth.

The last four transits of Mercury occurred on November 15, 1999; May 7, 2003; November 8, 2006; and May 9, 2016.

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Because the planet's orbit around the Sun is tilted, it normally appears to pass above or below our nearest star.

It wrote: 'With the coolest security equipment, viewers almost some distance and vast on Earth will be ready to survey a slight darkish advise transferring slowly across the disk of the Sun.

Mercury will be around the center of the sun at about 11:20 a.m.

NASA says you should use proper safety equipment like a sun filter.

The Mercury transit will be visible in South Africa from 14:35 for 5.5 hours on Monday, 11 November 2019.

'Attributable to Mercury is so dinky from our perspective on Earth, you'll need binoculars or a telescope with a Sun filter to survey it.

This is a great opportunity to look at and learn about our closest star - the Sun.