Mercury, our solar system’s smallest planet, will transit the sun today, May 9 2016, passing between Earth and the latter and will be visible in Mauritius. The event will start off at around 11:12 GMT (7:12 am EST), lasting till 18:42 – this gives us 7 hours of a wonderful spectacle.
This transit is of a very rare kind – it only happens a couple of times (around 14 times) in 100 years. It will next happen in 2019, and then in 2032. The last time this happened was 10 years ago.
Mercury will be seen as a tiny dot passing the giant yellow disc of the sun, as was the case back in 2006.
It is to be noted that this transit will not be seen with the naked eye, or with binoculars, given the small size of Mercury. Rather, one needs filtered telescopes to do so; if one does not use filters, the eye might be damaged, and so, this event should not be viewed without a proper solar filter. The planet will be visible in the western regions of Europe and Africa, and most of the Americas. On the other hand, Eastern Asia and Australia will not get to see it. For those who cannot watch this event, worry not – you might still watch the live streaming.
This year’s path has been traced by NASA as follows:-