Rare Celestial Event Between Mercury and the Sun Occurs This Monday

A rare celestial event involving the Sun and the planet Mercury will take place in the skies over the United States on Monday.

According to NASA, Mercury will pass directly between the Sun and Earth, causing Mercury’s shadow to obscure part of the Sun.

The effect will seem like that of a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the Sun and Earth. However, solar eclipse glasses will not work on Monday, since only a small portion of the Sun will be blocked.

Still, more than 60 astronomical groups across the country plan to host viewing parties for the public. A telescope with a solar filter will allow people to witness what is called the “transit.”

It is projected to begin around 7:35 a.m. Eastern time on Monday and will last over five hours. The western half of the country will experience the transit for a few hours after sunrise.

Mercury’s next transit will not be visible until the year 2032.

A list of viewing parties is available by searching here.

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