A rare site will be visible in the sky on Monday, November 11, but you’ll need special protection to view it safely. Mercury will be passing in front of the sun, an occurrence that only happens about a dozen times per century. It takes Mercury only about 88 days to go around the Sun; however, with its tilted orbit, it’s relatively rare for the Sun, Mercury and Earth to line up perfectly to create such a sight in the sky. The phenomena is known as a “transit” and the next Mercury transit isn’t until 2032; in the United States, it won’t be visible again until 2049.
Remember, it’s always dangerous to look directly into the sun. Even with solar eclipse glasses, Mercury is too small to be easily seen with the unaided eye. Many local astronomy clubs will provide the public with the opportunity to see the transit using specialized, properly-filtered solar telescopes. NASA will also have images available at their website, https://mercurytransit.gsfc.nasa.gov/2019/. Again, remember that you cannot use a regular telescope or binoculars in conjunction with solar viewing glasses to safely view this.
The phenomena will unfold in the sky on Monday from about 7:35 am ET to 1:04 pm ET.