NASA is inviting both the media and worldwide science fans alike to partake in the viewing of a rare celestial event—Mercury’s transit in between the sun and earth.
Members of the media interested in an up-close and personal view of the passing, via telescope and high-powered, solar-filtered binoculars, can make the trip to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
But for those who want to enjoy the planet’s orbiting from the comfort of their home, NASA is offering several options.
- Live image stream on NASA.gov
- NASA also will stream a live program on NASA TV, and the agency’s Facebook page from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
- Twitter/Facebook social media posts from NASA’s official accounts
- Viewers can also ask questions via Twitter and Facebook using #AskNASA
The rare passing only occurs about 13 times a century, with the last trip taking place in 2006. Because it is so small, and requires staring directly into the sun, the viewing requires very expensive and precise equipment, ensuring eye safety.
For those attending the space flight center’s viewing; the equipment will be provided. For those at home, no protection or equipment is necessary.
Exactly as it’s presented in the video above, NASA says:
“Mercury will appear as a small black dot as it crosses the edge of the sun and into view at 7:12 a.m. The planet will make a leisurely journey across the face of the sun, reaching mid-point at approximately 10:47 a.m., and exiting the golden disk at 2:42 p.m. The entire 7.5-hour path across the sun will be visible across the Eastern United States—with magnification and proper solar filters—while those in the West can observe the transit in progress after sunrise.”