Mercury can be seen as a tiny spot on this image of the planet transiting the Sun in 2016

When:

Monday, November 11, 4:35 a.m. to 11:05 a.m. PST

Where:

Daytime (when the Sun is visible in the sky)

Target Audience:

General public

Overview:

The sky will put on a stellar show on Nov. 11, 2019, as Mercury crosses in front of the Sun. From our perspective on Earth, we can only ever see Mercury and Venus cross in front of, or transit, the Sun, so it's a rare event you won't want to miss!

With the *proper safety equipment, viewers nearly everywhere on Earth will be able to see a tiny dark spot moving slowly across the disk of the Sun. Because Mercury is so small from our perspective on Earth, you'll need binoculars or a telescope with a Sun filter to see it. You might also be able to attend a viewing party at a local museum or astronomy club event.  

*CAUTION: Looking at the Sun directly or through a telescope without proper protection can lead to serious and permanent vision damage. Do not look directly at the Sun without a solar filter. 

The transit starts at 4:35 a.m. PST, but viewers in certain areas, such as the West Coast, won't be able to see it until the Sun is visible in the sky. Thankfully, this transit will last about 5.5 hours, so there will be plenty of time to catch the show. At approximately 8:20 a.m. PST, Mercury will be as close as it is going to get to the center of the Sun.

Explore More

Learn more about the transits of Mercury, Venus and planets around other stars with these lessons and activities: