Mercury transit to happen Monday

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(CNN/WJHL) – Skygazers, Monday is the day to watch Mercury glide across the sun.

The rare event is called a transit. It only happens about 13 times per century and the next one isn’t set to happen again until 2032, so you’d better not miss out this time around!

On Monday, Mercury will look like a tiny black dot on the sun starting at around 7:35 a.m.

Its full path across the sun will take five-and-half hours. Because mercury is so small, people will need binoculars or a telescope to see it, but make sure you don’t look directly at the sun. You can damage your eyes.

Instead, attend a viewing party at a local museum or astronomy club event.

The Bays Mountain Astronomy Club will host a transit viewing party from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Park’s Observatories. The event is weather dependent. Please note that the park’s admission fee still does apply.

East Tennessee State University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy will also host a viewing party for the public to safely view this rare astronomical occurrence.  From 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., ETSU astronomers will have telescopes set up on the athletic field adjacent to the Wayne G. Basler Center for Physical Activity on the west side of the university campus.

If you still have your solar glasses from the solar eclipse of 2017, then use them to see if you can spy Mercury’s tiny disk against the sun. Otherwise, it is unsafe to view the sun without proper eye protection.

You can also check out images and videos close to real-time on NASA’s website.

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