You are about to witness a rare chance to see Mercury transit the sun

You are about to witness a rare chance to see Mercury transit the sun that will see Mercury cross in front of the sun on Monday, a rare astronomical event visible from Cyprus.

This was announced by the Cyprus Fakas observatory on Thursday.

Because Mercury and Venus are closer to the sun than the earth, the two planets occasionally pass between the earth and the sun, performing something called a solar transit. According to Nasa, this happens 13 to 14 times every century.

At 2.35pm local time, Mercury will touch the outer edge of the sun. Two minutes later it will begin crossing the face of the sun. 

The phenomenon will end at 8.04pm but can only be seen from the island until 4.43pm when the sun sets in Cyprus. Mercury is closest to the sun at 4.41pm in Nicosia/Lefkosa.

The incident is a called a transit and not an eclipse because of the small size of the planets Mercury and Venus. If they were bigger they would cover the sun, an eclipse visible to the naked eye. Instead the will appear more like a dot in comparison with the size of the sun.

The transit on the other hand is practically invisible to the naked eye and Fakas warned looking at the sun directly is extremely dangerous and can cause blindness.

Only telescopes with sufficient sun filters should be used.

On the day, Fakas observatory offers its telescopes to the public and the public is invited to observe the phenomenon safely and free of charge at the institute’s schools. The phenomenon will also be projected on a screen.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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