DENVER (CBS4) – If you enjoy checking out cool things happening in the sky be sure to mark Nov. 11 on your calendar because that’s when the planet Mercury will cross the face of the Sun. The event is called a transit and it only happens about 13 or 14 times each century.
The last time a Mercury transit was visible in the United States was on May 9, 2016. The next one will happen in the year 2032 but it won’t be visible from North America. So if you miss the one this year you’ll have to wait until May 7, 2049 to see another one from Colorado.
LOCAL WATCH PARTY
This coming Monday, Nov. 11, you can view Mercury in real-time with members of the Denver Astronomical Society at DU’s historic Chamberlin Observatory. A powerful 20-inch refractor telescope equipped with a special solar filter will allow for safe viewing as Mercury crosses the face of the sun. Several members of the society will also be present with safely filtered telescopes set up on the lawn next to the observatory building.
While the transit will officially begin just after 5:30 am it will not be visible from the observatory until after 7:30 am due to trees in the area that will restrict visibility. Mercury should be located somewhere near the center of the Sun around 8:20 am and the transit ends just after 11 am.
If you plan to view the transit on your own be sure to have a telescope with a filter to protect your eyes. Never look directly into the Sun with a telescope or the naked eye.