Mercury on the Face of the Sun: 11/11/19

Image of Mercury in transit across the Sun in 2016, by Elijah Matthews via - flipped vertically to emphasize the silhouette of Mercury instead of the sunspot group also present.
Photo credit: 2016 Mercury transit by Elijah Matthews via Image has been flipped vertically.

On November 11, 2019, tiny planet Mercury crossed between Earth and the Sun. Observers fortunate enough to be beneath clear skies on the sunward side of the Earth when this happens could hope to view the celestial conjunction, officially known as a transit. Transits of Mercury occur about a dozen times per century. The most recent was in 2016, and the next is in 2032! (In 2032 the transit will not be visible from North America.)

Mercury is quite small, so eclipse glasses are not sufficient to see it. Properly configured solar binoculars, or ideally a high magnification solar telescope, are needed. Always use caution when observing the Sun!

Thanks to those who came up to join us at the Maryland Space Grant Observatory, as we trained our telescopes to follow the transit from approximately 9:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m. EST. Here is a NASA video showing the full transit:

For more information about the 11/11/2019 Mercury transit, check out this page from NASA JPL or this very detailed page at