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East Valley astronomers preparing for Mercury's transit across the sun

Posted at 2:19 PM, Nov 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-08 19:54:20-05

Sun’s out, scopes out!

That’s what amateur astronomer Robert Messick and his family do whenever astronomical events occur, including solar eclipses, along with next week’s big event.

"This Monday is called the transit of Mercury, where Mercury passes in front of the image of the Sun as we look at it from the Earth. It's a really rare event, and we're excited to see it," Messick said.

Between 5:00 and 11:00 Monday morning, Messick will have his gear ready, including his high-powered telescopes, for neighbors and family alike to gaze through. He says it’s a hit with the kids.

"Sometimes it's the first time they've ever looked through a telescope, and so we usually like to open it up for the kids to see it," Messick stated.

If you don't have a high-powered telescope, there are other ways you can watch Mercury on Monday safely, including getting a pair of binoculars, wrapping the lenses with mylar to protect your eyes, and looking up. You can get mylar at most locations that sell emergency blankets, including Wal-Mart or Target.

If you miss out on Mercury’s passing next week, you’ll have to wait until 2032 for the next opportunity, so plan accordingly and safely.