Monday was a particularly exciting day for amateur astronomers. It was the day that the planet Mercury performed a visible transit across the Sun’s surface as it passed between it and the Earth.
Mercury is so tiny and insignificant that this transit event wouldn’t have been observable with the naked eye, but if you had a telescope with at least a 50x zoom factor and the proper solar filtering, then you would’ve been able to discern a miniscule black dot moving from left to right across the frame.
Not everyone has access to such powerful astronomy equipment; fortunately, we can always count on NASA to put their ridiculously expensive observatories to work during events just like this one. In this video footage, captured with the help of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), we witness Mercury scurrying across the Sun’s surface.
As you might come to expect, this is far from a real-time observation. The entire transit event lasted several hours, and so the video footage has been sped up by NASA to make watching it practical for everyone.
A Mercury transit event just like this one hasn’t happened since 2016, and it won’t be until 2032 that we get the chance to witness another one. Hopefully the wait will be worth it…