Mercury starts its journey across the Sun – BBC News

Mercury transitImage copyright
NASA

Image caption

Mercury is seen here moving across the Sun for the first time in 10 years

Skywatchers across the globe are observing Mercury transit the Sun, the little planet’s third such pass of 14 it will make this century.

Mercury’s sojourn between Earth and our star lasts from 11:12 until 18:42 GMT.

It will not make another transit until 2019 and then 2032.

The event is impossible – and dangerous – to view with the naked eye or binoculars, but astronomy groups worldwide are offering the chance view it through filtered telescopes.

Live views from space and ground telescopes are also available online.

They show Mercury as a tiny black circle, smaller but darker than many sunspots, slowly traversing the Sun’s giant yellow disc.


Where to view the transit of Mercury


Mercury spins around the Sun every 88 days, but its orbit is tilted relative to the Earth’s. It is that discrepancy which makes it relatively rare for the three bodies to line up in space.

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