Astronomical Society to host Mercury transit viewing Monday at Hanna Park

Planet Mercury crosses the sun in rare astronomical event

By Chloe Walker - Associate producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Planet Mercury will cross the face of the sun Monday in a rare astronomical event called a "transit."

Mercury's transit only occurs in North America about 13 times each century. The last time it happened was in May 2016. The next transit isn't until November 2032, but it won't be fully visible again until May 2049, according to the Northeast Florida Astronomical Society.

Mercury will appear as a small black dot in front of the sun starting at approximately 7:34 a.m. and requires proper telescope equipment to see.

NEFAS is hosting a viewing for local stargazers at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park.

Cars can enter the gate starting at 7 a.m. There is a $5 entry fee per car and no re-entry once vehicles leave the park.

The group will gather at parking lot #8.

In a press release, the NEFAS said volunteers will provide telescope equipment and instruct people how to safely view the solar event. Children may require assistance.

For anyone who plans to bring their own equipment, NEFAS suggests asking a lot of questions to find the correct type and size of telescope to view the sun.

They also suggest putting on bug spray before arriving.

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