This coming Monday, May 9th, something spectacular is going to happen in outer space. Mercury will make a transit across the surface of the Sun, as visible from our eyes here on Earth.
This kind of even only happens 12-13 times every century, and it’s not expected to happen again until 2019.
This event occurs because Mercury is in between the Earth and the Sun. Although Mercury is too small to create a solar eclipse like our Moon is known to do, it’s the same concept because it essentially gets in between our planet and the Sun. This is why you’ll be able to see it.
Obviously, you shouldn’t stare directly at the Sun or through a telescope with your bare eyes to observe this event for safety reasons, but there are proper ways to observe the Sun, such as a pinhole projection box or by peeking through a #14 shade in an arc welder’s helmet to protect your eyes from the dangerous UV rays.
If you are unable to watch it in these ways, you can always download an app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer that will let you track the event in real time. There are also going to be live streams of the event on YouTube.
For those that do want to watch it in person, however, it’ll be visible from much of the Western half of the planet, including contents like North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Western parts of Asia, while those in Southeastern Asia will not be able to observe the event in person.
Those in the Eastern regions of North America and South America will have the most complete view of the event throughout the day, while other parts of the world will be limited to Sunrise and Sunset times only.
The image below shows the locations of the world that will have the best viewing opportunities: