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Oh man, Mercury will pierce the sun

Mercury passes through the sun in 2006. [19690003] Brocken Inaglory ( Wikimedia Commons ) [19659004MercurywillcomehereonMondaystoseethesunshine This will happen again until 2032.

The eccentric orbit of the smallest planet means that it does not often pass by the sun from the viewpoint of the earth. This year, part of the 5.5-hour transit from 7:36 am CET will be visible across much of North America. In the eastern half of North America and throughout South America, the entire show is shown until 1:04 pm. ET. Africa, Europe and West Asia can see it on Monday's sunset.

How can you see it? Well, I advise against staring directly into the sun and even more through binoculars or telescope into the sun. Instead, use a telescope with a sun filter, through which the transit looks like a small black spot in front of the sun, which appears 194 times larger than the spot . If you do not have these tools, check if a local astronomy club organizes a public visit . The Virtual Telescope Project is displayed on its website.

Transits occur when planets come between us and the sun, which means that only two planets can transit: Venus and Mercury. The experience of a transit is a question of timing. Venustransits occur in pairs at a distance of 121.5 or 105.5 years, with each transit being separated by eight years. The next Venus transit takes place in the year 2117. Transits of mercury are far more common as the planet moves in a smaller orbit around the sun.

Mercury transits have long been useful tools for scientists. As early as the 17th century

astronomers observed transits of Mercury to determine the distance between Earth and sun using parallax two different locations on the Earth As astronomer Brian Koberlein of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory wrote for Forbes. A team used the transits to indirectly calculate the effect of the tidal forces of the moon on the earth. More recently a team of scientists used a transit to determine if the amount of sunlight would decrease noticeably (this did not). This knowledge is valuable for astronomers who want to discover exoplanets around distant stars using the transit method.

I hope you have an opportunity to follow the transit on Monday. Remember, however, that d does not look directly at Mr. . Sun.

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