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Extremely Rare Celestial Event May 2016 Transit of Mercury Across the Sun
This is an extremely rare event that occurs only once every few years. There will be one other transit of Mercury in 2019 and then the next one will not take place until 2039.
This transit will be visible throughout North America, Mexico, Central America, South America, and parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The best place to view this event in its entirety will be the eastern United States and eastern South America.
As seen from Earth, only transits of the inner planets Mercury and Venus are possible. Planetary transits are far more rare than eclipses of the Sun by the Moon. On the average, there are 13 transits of Mercury each century.
The planet Mercury will move directly between the Earth and the Sun. In about seven and a half hours time the planet Mercury will cross the solar disk from east to west.
Viewers with telescopes and approved solar filters will be able to observe the dark disk of the planet Mercury moving across the face of the Sun.
Nowadays, all transits of Mercury fall within several days of May 8 and November 10. During November transits, Mercury is near perihelion and exhibits a disk only 10 arc-seconds in diameter. By comparison, the planet is near aphelion during May transits and appears 12 arc-seconds across.
Clips, images credit: ESO,ESA/HUBBLE & NASA
Music credit: YouTube Audio Library
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