Mercury is in
Monday, November 11, 2019 will be a big day for the solar system’s smallest planet. In a rare occurrence, Mercury will transit, or visibly pass in between Earth and the sun. As Mercury and Venus are the only planets who orbit between Earth and the sun, only their transits can be seen from Earth. This rare event only happens about 13 times every century, and won’t happen again until 2032.
Mercury transits are so rare because each planet takes a different amount of time to orbit the sun, and therefore rarely overlap. Planetary transits like Mercury’s are essential to helping astronomers understand space. Scientists have discovered hundreds of exoplanets, and can even measure planetary atmospheres by observing these phenomenon.
How to view it:
Mercury’s transit across the sun will be visible in North America starting at 7:30 a.m. EST. In honor of Mercury’s big transit around the sun, The Orlando Science Center’s observatory will be open for viewing. On November 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST stop by the observatory to take a peek through sun-safe telescopes, check out hands-on demonstrations, and attend a Q&A with our knowledgeable science interpreters.
Mercury’s Transit viewing party is included with daily general admission to Orlando Science Center, which is free for members, $21 for adults, $19 for seniors and students, and $15 for youth (ages 2 – 11). For more information, please call 407.514.2000