Mercury Crosses the Sun Today for the First Time in 10 Years

Sophie Miura
PHOTO:

Courtesy of NASA

Stargazers, take note! For the first time since 2006, mercury will transit across the sun, a rare celestial event that happens only a dozen times a century. The passage should be visible from North America, South America, and Western Europe, according to New Scientist.

The event started today at 11:12 UTC and is expected to take just under eight hours. Those who manage to catch a glimpse will see Mercury as a tiny black speck drifting past the glowing surface of the sun. 

Keen to witness it firsthand? Scientists warn against looking directly at the sun, since doing so can cause serious eye damage. Special glasses from last year's solar eclipse won't help either, because Mercury isn't visible without a magnifying lens. The best way to spot the planet is with a telescope or binoculars fitted with a solar filter. 

NASA is live-streaming the event from its Facebook page and on NASA TVWatch the video below to find out more about this rare celestial event. 

Love stargazing? Give your home a celestial touch with a Society6 Constellation Map ($20).

Did you catch a glimpse at Mercury's transit across the sun? Tell us if it lived up to the hype below. 

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