When:Monday, May 9
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Where:See transit map
Target Audience:General Public
From our perspective on Earth, only two planets – Mercury and Venus – can ever be seen passing over the disk of the sun during what's known as a transit. On May 9, 2016 viewers across the world can watch one of these rare events as Mercury passes directly between the Earth and the sun for the last time until 2019.
But before you set out your lawn chairs to take in the view, remember your sun safety rules and NEVER look directly at the sun unless you have the proper certified eclipse glasses. In fact, because the diameter of Mercury is so much smaller than that of the sun (more than 285 times smaller!), you'll probably need a telescope – also with the proper solar filter – to watch it. Or you can participate in any one of the hundreds of astronomy events taking place in person and online. Check out the Night Sky Network website to find an event near you.
NASA also will stream a live program on NASA TV and the agency’s Facebook page from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. PDT (10:30 to 11:30 a.m. EDT) -- an informal roundtable during which experts representing planetary, heliophysics and astrophysics will discuss the science behind the Mercury transit. Viewers can ask questions via Facebook and Twitter using #AskNASA.
The transit will be visible from most locations around the world except the eastern part of Asia, Japan, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. See the transit map to find out when the transit will be visible near you. And learn more about the 2016 transit of Mercury in our What's Up video below:
Educators and Parents: See our Transit of Mercury Teachable Moment for more about how to turn the event into a lesson for students.