If you are a fan of sky gazing, you will have a unique opportunity to see Mercury glide in front of the sun today, November 11. The event known as the Transit of Mercury is only visible for people in the western hemisphere, and it won’t occur again until 2032.
This year, Mercury will take about five and a half hours to complete its trek, making the first contact with the disk at 7:35 a.m. ET (12:35 UT). The planet reaches the midpoint in its journey at 10:20 a.m. ET (15:20 UT), and the transit ends at 1:04 p.m. ET (18:04 UT).
Among the most awaited spectacle of the whole sighting is the start and the ending – when the planet is just in front of the sun’s edge. This configuration creates the black drop optical illusion. As Mercury reaches the edge of the sun the shadow becomes elongated making the silhouette look like a black teardrop.
For the safety of your eye, you will need to equip with some gear if you wish to look at Mercury while the bright sun is just on the background. It is essential to have a good enough telescope and sun filters to see the minuscule planet. If you don’t own the gear, you can follow this link to find viewing parties in your proximity.