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Mercury Passes in Front of the Sun Photos

These Photos Capture a Beautiful, Rare Cosmic Moment Between Mercury and the Sun

Mercury passed in front of the sun on May 9, and if you're like us, you probably missed this rare event on your way to work. The cosmic occurrence only happens a dozen times per century and began early in the morning on May 9, at 7:12 a.m., lasting for seven and a half hours. Anyone could have seen Mercury's transit if they had a pair of high-powered binoculars or a backyard telescope.

If you didn't have any of these options available to you, that's completely OK. NASA's Facebook page gave a recap of the incredible event and even took to Twitter to share some awesome images of Mercury trekking in front of the sun. According to NASA, the planet goes around the sun every 88 days, but rarely do all three bodies (Mercury, the sun, and Earth) align. Usually, Mercury darts above or below our line of sight to the sun, so the fact we can see it today is pretty incredible. And the next Mercury transit isn't until 2019!

Until then, see what you've missed below, and check out other stunning snapshots from cosmic events.

Mercury Transit Underway

Mercury is trekking across the front of the sun today. Although the small planet goes around the sun every 88 days – over four times faster than Earth – the three bodies rarely align. Because Mercury orbits in a plane 7 degrees tilted from Earth’s orbit, it usually darts above or below our line of sight to the sun. As a result, a Mercury transit happens only about 13 times a century. The last one was in 2006, and the next one isn’t until 2019.

Here's the latest views from our Solar Dynamics Observatory of the #MercuryTransit:

Posted by NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Monday, May 9, 2016

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