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Solar transit of Mercury: Rare astronomical event to occur on May 9
On coming Monday (May 9) one of the rarest astronomical events will take place in which a transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun would be witnessed in most counties across the world including India. This happens 13 or 14 times a century.

Sky watchers around most of the globe will be able to see such a solar transit of Mercury for slightly more than 7 hours. However, the event won't be visible in some countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines and a small area of eastern Asia.

NASA has released the graphic that depicts the time and location of Mercury as it crosses the face of the sun on May 9. Another graphic shows the "black drop effect" in which the Mercury appears to be connected to the dark sky beyond the sun by a tiny thread of blackness.

However, the event cannot be seen with the naked eye. Moreover, never look directly at the sun without proper protection since it can cause permanent eye damage.

To observe the event, one would need a good telescope with magnification beyond 60x because Mercury is very small compared to the sun - about 1/160 the diameter of the sun. The facilities at astronomy institutes and clubs could be availed to witness this rare event.

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