On November 11th, the Earth and Mercury are aligned, and it is possible to observe the planet’s journey in front of the Sun. A so-called transit of Mercury occurs 13 times each century.
In Norway you can experience the phenomenon from 13:35 until the sun sets, according to Science Illustrated.
There can be between 3.5 to 13 years between each time the phenomenon occurs. The last was in May 2016, when a rare and exceptionally long-lasting transit of Mercury took place. It will be 125 years until we can experience a longer-lasting planetary passage.
If you miss the event on November 11th, there will not be a new opportunity until November 2032.
Small black spot
Since Mercury is close to the Sun, it is not easy to see the planet from the Earth. It may be hidden behind the Sun, or it may be difficult to see due to the sharp rays of the Sun. On November 11th, however, the situation is right to observe the planet, and it can be seen as a small black spot on the solar disk.
Since Mercury is so small, safety glasses will not be enough to spot the relatively rare phenomenon, and you need a binocular or a telescope. It is also important to protect the eyes.
Can be seen in Oslo first
According to the Norwegian Astronomical Society, the transit will only be seen in Oslo at 13.40 when the sun is low in the northwest. There it will be visible until the sun goes down at 15 o’clock. In Kristiansand the sun is higher in the sky, so it will be possible to see the passage a little further, until sunset at 15.35.
In Bodø the transit starts at about the same time as the sun goes down, so it will not be possible to experience the phenomenon so far north in the country.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today