Mercury to transit between the Earth, sun in November |

Mercury to transit between the Earth, sun in November

Patrick Varine
Mercury will pass between the Earth and the sun on Nov. 11, 2019.

The planets will align on Nov. 11 this year.

Well, two of them, at least.

Mercury will transit between the Earth and the sun on Veteran’s Day this year.

“When we have a ‘transit’ of the moon, we call it a solar eclipse,” said Ken Kobus of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh. “In the case of a planet like Mercury or Venus, it’s just a small disc.”

In a rare occurrence, Mercury’s transit will happen for the second time in four years. Its previous transit was in May 2016.

“That’s very unusual,” Kobus said. “Typically it’s decades between transits.”

The next time Mercury will transit isn’t until 2039, according to the association’s website. Those who want a chance to see it can do so by visiting Mingo Creek Park Observatory in Washington County.

“It starts at 7:36 a.m., when the sun is barely up, and goes until just after 1 p.m.,” Kobus said. “We’ll be viewing it with our 10-inch telescope, and we have a special kind of filter that allows you to view it.”

The Mingo Creek Observatory also boasts a 4-inch solar telescope, which allows for views not just of Mercury’s transit, but also of prominences, or solar eruptions.

The eastern United States is one of the best places to observe Mercury’s transit.

The Mingo Creek Park Observatory is at 1 Shelter 10 Road in Finleyville.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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