/ Modified may 2, 2016 1:46 p.m.

Mercury Will Pass Between Earth, Sun in Rare Event

Mount Lemmon SkyCenter to host program for early-morning viewing.


For the first time in nearly a decade, the planet Mercury will pass between the sun and the Earth next month. The Mount Lemmon SkyCenter will host a viewing of the event at sunrise May 9.

“You need a telescope to see it," astronomer Adam Block of the SkyCenter said. "It’s not something you can see with your unaided eyes."

Block, who will lead the viewing event, cautioned that telescopes or binoculars used to view the sun must have proper filters to protect the human eye.

The sun will rise at 5:30 that morning, and the “transit” will be under way. The entire occurrence will last until about noon.

For those who can’t make it up the mountain, the SkyCenter will post live images on its Facebook page throughout the morning.

The Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association will set up scopes at Brandi Fenton Park near East River Road and North Dodge Boulevard from 8 to 10 a.m.

Mercury’s next passage between the sun and the Earth will be Nov. 11, 2019.

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