NASA announced that a very rare cosmic event is about to occur tomorrow. As noted by the space agency, Mercury will pass directly between the Sun and Earth.

The cosmic event is known as Mercury transit or Mercury-Sun transit. During this event, Mercury perfectly lines up with the Sun. According to NASA, the transit only occurs around 13 times per century. The last time the transit occurred was in 2016 and is not expected to be visible from Earth again until 2049.

As indicated by the agency, the transit will be visible from Earth and can be viewed by those in the Americas, Atlantic, Europe, New Zealand, Africa and western Asia. The event is expected to begin at 7:35 a.m. EST, but those in the West Coast will have to wait a bit longer to witness the event.

NASA noted that the transit will last for a total of about six hours. Mercury will be closest to the center of the Sun at around 10:20 a.m. EST. During the transit, the planet will appear like a tiny speck in front of the Sun due to their size difference.

According to NASA, the skywatchers will be able to witness the rare cosmic event tomorrow using telescopes with a minimum zoom of 50x. Of course, since the activity would involve looking directly at the Sun, the agency strongly advised the use of telescopes and other special equipment that have Sun filters to avoid damaging the eyes.

Those who don’t have access to this type of equipment can still watch the event by checking with their local museums, observatories and astronomy facilities if they will offer public viewings of the Mercury transit.

“Viewing transits and eclipses provide opportunities to engage the public, to encourage one and all to experience the wonders of the universe and to appreciate how precisely science and mathematics can predict celestial events,” Mitzi Adams, a solar scientist for NASA’s Heliophysics and Planetary Science Branch at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, said in a statement.

“Of course, safely viewing the Sun is one of my favorite things to do,” she added.

Sun & Mercury
Mercury’s proximity to the sun and small size make it exquisitely sensitive to the dynamics of the sun and its gravitational pull. NASA/SDO