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Mount Lemmon SkyCenter Can Help You See Rare Transit Of Mercury

Mercury transits the sun in 2006
(Photo courtesy of ESA/NASA/SOHO)
Mercury transits the sun as seen from Earth in 2006.

A rare celestial event will unfold in the early morning of May 9. You’ll have to get up with the sun to witness Mercury passing in front of it.

Mercury passes between the Earth and the sun about a dozen times each century. The last time was in 2006.

Astronomer Adam Block will lead a program that morning at the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter.

“You need a telescope to see it. It’s not something you can see with your unaided eyes. A telescope that is designed to safely observe the sun with proper filters and so on," said Block.

Block said the SkyCenter will post live images of the occurrence on its Facebook page for those unable to make it up the mountain for the 5:30 a.m. sunrise.

Tickets are required for the event, which includes a light breakfast.

Transits Of Mercury In The 21st Century

If you miss your chance to see the transit this year, you won't have another opportunity until 2019. Here's a look at all the transits visible from Earth this century.

May 7, 2003Nov. 7, 2039Nov. 14, 2078
Nov. 8, 2006May 7, 2049Nov. 7, 2085
May 9, 2016Nov. 9, 2052May 8, 2095
Nov. 11, 2019May 10, 2062Nov. 10, 2098
Nov. 13, 2032Nov. 11, 2065

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Sara Hammond has an extensive background in journalism as well as corporate communication. A graduate of the University of Arizona’s (UA) School of Journalism, Hammond interned at the Tucson Citizen and, after graduation, spent 10 years reporting for the Portland Press Herald in Maine.