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Watch Mercury inch closer to the sun

Mercury is getting ready to transit the sun on May 9. This video from the SOHO sun-watching camera shows Mercury inching closer to the sun’s disk, day by day.

Mercury, Venus, and later, The Pleiades (M45) are all approaching the Sun in the month of May from LarryKoehn on Vimeo.

A transit of the innermost planet Mercury across the face of the sun is coming up May 9, 2016. People with telescopes and solar filters will see Mercury as a tiny black dot moving across the sun’s face. The transit starts Monday morning, according to clocks in North America. Meanwhile, if you could view Mercury on the dome of Earth’s sky right now (you can’t because it’s too near the sun’s glare), you’d find it where this video shows it – near the sun and getting closer! Larry Koehn – who runs the great website shadowandsubstance.com – told EarthSky he’s maintaining this video on a daily basis. It shows the field of view of the SOHO sun-watching satellite.

Larry commented on the fact that Venus is also coming into to view; its superior conjunction with the sun, when it will pass behind the sun from Earth’s vantage point, will take place on June 9:

Venus right now is approaching the sun from the right. Later this month, The Pleiades (M45) will too approach and pull away from the sun. Venus is going to appear much, much brighter than Mercury, because we are seeing its sunlit side.

Mercury, right now, is showing its night side.

Click here for more information on the Mercury transit, including who will see it, and how to watch online

Bottom line: Video showing Mercury in early May, 2016, as it inches toward the sun, prior to the May 9, 2016, transit, when Mercury will cross the sun’s face as seen from Earth.

Deborah Byrd

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