Mini Mercury skips across sun's vast glare in rare transit

The timings of the transit of MercuryIGN

The timings of the transit of MercuryIGN

Today (November 11) astronomers predicted Mercury will fly across the Sun from about 12.35pm GMT and wrap up around 4.15pm GMT here in the UK. If Mercury could talk (and it is the communication planet) it would say "don't look directly at me as I cross the sun, dummy". Thankfully, this transit will last nearly six hours, so there will be plenty of time to catch the show. It starts at about 6:35 a.m. CST, but viewers in some areas, such as the West Coast, will have to wait until the Sun rises at their location to see the transit already in progress. "Always use a safe Sun filter to protect your eyes".

As the orbit of Mercury around the Sun is tilted compared with the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, the planet normally appears to pass above or below our nearest star.

Hey, space fans! The Mercury transit of 2019 is finally upon us and after months of waiting, it's time for the skywatching event of the year.

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The next Mercury transit, according to NASA, isn't until 2032.

Known as a transit, this happens when a planet lines up just right between the Sun and Earth. Also, Mercury and do not meet at the nodes at the same.

Mercury's tiny disk, jet black and perfectly round, covers a tiny fraction of the Sun's blinding surface - only 1/283 of the Sun's apparent diameter.

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In spite of the fact that the trek will show up moderate, Mercury will zoom over the sun at about 150,000 miles per hour.

Mercury typically transits the Sun in either May or November.

To spot the small disc of Mercury against the Sun you will need a telescope with a magnification of at least 50x. This marks the end of the process. The remainder of North America, Europe and Africa will get some portion of the activity.

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To experience the entire (five-hour-long) event, people in central and western U.S. will have to find a spot outside before sunrise; anyone watching from easterly regions can wait until just after daybreak.

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