Already this Monday, from 15:35 Moscow time, Mercury will pass across the disk of the Sun. This rather rare phenomenon can be observed using binoculars with a light filter or a telescope.
The transit of Mercury in front of the Sun is a relatively rare astronomical event that can be seen approximately 13-14 times per century. It happens unevenly: the time interval between two transits can be from three to ten years or more.
The last time the inhabitants of the Earth could observe the passage of Mercury across the disk of the Sun in 2016. Then it did not last very long - the planet passed along the lower part of the star. This year it will last as much as five and a half hours. However, the inhabitants of Russia will be able to see only the first hour of this astronomical phenomenon, since the sunset on this day in Moscow will be at 16:32. The residents of the Primorsky Territory will be able to observe the phenomenon for the longest time.
Mercury is almost 300 times smaller than the Sun. Because of this, it will not be easy to see it on the disk of the star. A telescope is best suited for this. It must be pointed directly at the Sun without looking through the eyepiece. To see Mercury, you will need to place a sheet of paper in front of the eyepiece and adjust the focus. The planet will appear as a small black dot moving slowly across the disk of the star. You can also try to see the phenomenon using binoculars with a special light filter that will protect your eyes from the light that strikes them.
For those unable to observe the phenomenon with either a telescope or binoculars, NASA will be broadcasting live from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Scientists use transit to fine tune telescopes, especially those in space and cannot be manually adjusted.
Transits are one of the most useful phenomena for astronomy. The planet dims slightly as it passes in front of the star, and this can be detected with telescopes. It was the use of the transit method that allowed scientists to discover exoplanets and exoons for the first time. To date, using this method, astronomers have discovered more than two thousand exoplanets in different star systems.