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Mercury’s rare Sun transit will happen on Monday: Here’s how to watch

On Monday, November 11, Mercury will make a rare transit between the Earth and the Sun, something that will look like the planet skating past our star from our perspective on Earth. According to NASA, this transit only takes place around 13 times every century; the next pass won’t happen until the year 2032. Most people on Earth will be able to witness the pass, though seeing it for yourself will be a bit tricky.

First things first, NASA is reminding the public that it is very dangerous to look directly at the Sun — doing so puts the person at risk of permanent vision damage. It’s important to use a Sun filter from a reputable vendor; you’ll also need a telescope that is capable of at least a 50x zoom.

Mercury is the smallest planet in our Solar System; compared to the Sun, the planet will look like a tiny black dot smoothly sailing past the face of our star. You will not be able to view this event without a telescope and the appropriate filter. Assuming you have that gear, NASA says you’ll be able to view the event from North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, western Asia, and New Zealand.

The transit will begin at 6:35AM CST / 7:35AM EST, though some people will be forced to wait for the Sun to rise in their time zone before they can see it; in these cases, the transit won’t be visible until after it has already started. Mercury will be at its closest point to the Sun at approximately 9:20AM CST / 10:20AM EST, according to NASA.

If you don’t have the right equipment to view the transit for yourself, NASA has you covered. In addition to the video above, which provides a high-quality rendered look at what the transit will appear like, the space agency also plans to share images of the actual transit on its website here.

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