On Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, a rare event called Mercury transits occurred, in which Mercury passed between the Earth and the sun. Happens about 13 times a century, this transit was the last one of this decade; next will occur in 2032.
During a transit, Mercury appears as a tiny black dot moving across the disk of the sun. For those of us who missed out watching the transit, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Orbiter kept its eye on the transit and provided fantastic footage and photos of the event.
The transit views begin at 1200 UTC (7 am ET) and end at 1845 UTC (1:45 pm ET). Live coverage was provided by observatories, including NASA’s orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Mitzi Adams, a solar scientist in the Heliophysics and Planetary Science Branch at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama said, “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. Of course, safely viewing the sun is one of my favorite things to do.”
You can see full range of Mercury transit images on NASA’s website.