Monday will present a rare opportunity to see a solar transit

During the transit, Mercury will look like a tiny black dot gliding across the Sun's face, NASA said in a blog this week, adding that the event will be widely visible from most of Earth, including the Americas, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, New Zealand, Europe, Africa, and western Asia. The only time we see an inferior planet transit is when the Earth and the Sun lie roughly along the line between the nodes of its orbit - the two points where the path of the planet's orbit intersect the ecliptic, known as the ascending and descending nodes. Periodic, fleeting dips of starlight indicate an orbiting planet.

Since Mercury blocks out a tiny part of the light from the Sun, it should not be seen using the pinhole projectors that worked successfully in the solar eclipse in March 2015, or by using "eclipse glasses" with solar filters.

Future transits of Mercury will happen in November of 2032, November of 2039, and May of 2049, but only the 2049 event will be observable from Santa Barbara. Mercury's last transit was in May of 2016, and the next one is on the morning of Monday, November 11, visible from Santa Barbara.

"Transits are a visible demonstration of how the planets move around the sun, and everyone with access to the right equipment should take a look", Mike Cruise, president of the Royal Astronomical Society, said in a statement from England. Earthlings get treated to just 13 or 14 Mercury transits a century.

De Minaur, Sinner set for Next Gen title match
Sinner saved eight of nine break points faced. " He played an unbelievable season ", Sinner said of his opponent. Alex de Minaur and Jannik Sinner will compete in Saturday's title match of the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals .

Edmund Halley used a transit of Venus in 1761 and 1769 to determine the absolute distance to the Sun. Transits of Mercury are far more frequent, since the planet travels on a smaller orbit around the Sun.

It is extremely unsafe to look directly at the sun through instrument eyepieces because concentrated solar rays can damage your eyes instantly and even blind you.

Venus transits are much rarer. All telescopes with safe filters will be appropriate. Attending a viewing party at a local museum or an astronomy club event is suggested since looking directly at the sun is harmful.

In addition to the video above, which provides a high-quality rendered look at what the transit will appear like, the space agency also plans to share images of the actual transit on its website here.

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