Mercury passes in front of sun in rare transit

Hampshire County

(WWLP) – The planet of Mercury passed in front of the sun on Monday, something that won’t be seen in North America again until 2049.

The planet appears to be a tiny black dot crossing the face of the sun for several hours. The transit happened between 7:36 a.m. and 1:04 p.m

According to Stephen Schneider, a professor of astronomy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the transit can only be seen through a telescope and because it can cause serious eye damage it needs to be viewed using properly designed filters.

The public was able to visit UMass Amherst’s campus Sunwheel where they set up telescopes for people to safely view Mercury’s transit.

“We’re just now starting to get the sun a little bright so we are starting to see some shadows but most of the time to orbit of earth and the orbit of the mercury don’t usually align so it usually doesn’t pass in front of the sun so that’s why it’s such a rare event.”

-Stephen Schneider UMass Amherst Astrology Professor

The next two transits are in 2032 and 2039, but it will occur at night so you won’t be able to see it. 2049 is the next time the event will be visible to us here in North America.

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