Mer­cury’s tran­sit won’t be seen again un­til 2032

Lodi News-Sentinel - - LOCAL / WORLD - By Kim­berly Miller

A rare vi­sion of tiny Mer­cury glid­ing across the molten face of the sun hap­pens Mon­day morn­ing in a cos­mic pageant that won’t be seen again un­til 2032.

The jour­ney of Mer­cury, the small­est planet in the so­lar sys­tem and near­est to the sun, be­gins at about 7:35 a.m. Eastern, travers­ing the sun’s face for more than five hours be­fore ex­it­ing about 1:05 p.m.

While the trip can­not be watched by the naked eye, sev­eral we­b­casts are sched­uled, and a hand­ful of astron­omy clubs are hav­ing events.

“The coolest thing for me is the his­tor­i­cal sign­f­i­cance of tran­sits,” said Padi Boyd, an as­tro­physi­cist with the NASA God­dard Space Flight Cen­ter. “Hu­mans have been watch­ing pat­terns in the sky for mil­len­nia. It al­lowed peo­ple to get the ar­chi­tec­ture of the so­lar sys­tem.”

While the next tran­sit of Mer­cury may be in 2032, Boyd said peo­ple liv­ing in the U.S. won’t have an op­por­tu­nity to see it again un­til 2049.

“It’s re­ally the last time we’ll get a great view for 30 years,” she said.

The Vir­tual Tele­scope Pro­ject 2.0 is plan­ning to broad­cast the event live via a we­b­cast. Watch at: https://www.vir­tu­al­te­le­scope.eu/

NASA will have a nearly live we­b­cast of the event. Watch at: https://mer­cury­tran­sit.gsfc.nasa.gov/2019/.

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