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Graphic shows transit path across the sun and a visual explanation of why the transit happens.
GN39685EN

SPACE

Transit of Mercury 2019

By Jordi Bou

November 11, 2019 - The innermost planet in our solar system will be visible as a tiny black dot moving across the face of the sun, a rare astronomical event that will not be seen again until 2032.

Solar transits happens less than twice a century with Venus, and 13 or 14 times a century with Mercury. The 21st Century will see 14 transits of Mercury. The last Mercury transit was in 2016, and the next is in 2032.

As seen from Earth, only transits of Mercury and Venus are possible, according to Space.com, because these are the only planets that lie between Earth and the Sun. Transits of Venus occur in pairs separated by about eight years, with more than a century separating each pair.

Regions seeing at least some parts of the 2019 transit: South/West Europe, South/West Asia, Africa, much of North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Antarctica.

The telescope is necessary because Mercury is very small compared to the Sun – only 1/160 the diameter of the star.

Sources
PUBLISHED: 04/11/2019; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
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