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Mercury travels through the sun: see photo



Mercury had a rare celestial occurrence on Monday when star watchers watched the planet – in the form of a small black dot – pass between the sun and the earth.

The event, known as Mercury Transit, started around 7:35 am and lasted more than five hours. The smallest planet in the solar system is also the closest to the sun.

The east coast, Canada, South and Central America could see the entire show, weather permitting.

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This still image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory video shows Mercury as it passes between Earth and the sun on Monday. The smallest innermost planet in the solar system resembles a small black dot during transit, which began at 7:35 am EST (1205 UTC). (NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory via AP)

This still image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory video shows Mercury as it passes between Earth and the sun on Monday. The smallest innermost planet in the solar system resembles a small black dot during transit, which began at 7:35 am EST (1205 UTC). (NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory via AP)

"Currently, the planet looks like a small defect in the sun's face passing in front of the sun," Space.com reported.

Most of the world took only a small slice of traffic. Observers from Asia and Australia could not see him.

In Maryland, clouds prevented NASA solar astrophysicist Alex Young from sneaking a peek.

Planet Mercury travels across the face of the sun, as seen from Kekesteto, Hungary's highest peak on Monday. Star watchers used binoculars and filtered solar telescopes to locate Mercury, the smallest innermost planet in the solar system, as a small black dot as it passed between Earth and the sun on Monday. (Peter Komka / MTI via AP)

Planet Mercury travels across the face of the sun, as seen from Kekesteto, Hungary's highest peak on Monday. Star watchers used binoculars and filtered solar telescopes to locate Mercury, the smallest innermost planet in the solar system, as a small black dot as it passed between Earth and the sun on Monday. (Peter Komka / MTI via AP)

"It's a drag, but the whole event was still great," Young wrote in an email to the Associated Press. "Both seeing space and sharing with people from all over the country and the world."

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory orbital provided live coverage of the event.

NASA tweeted photos of traffic, including one of Mercury crossing the sun behind the Washington Monument, the nearly invisible planet.

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The event happens only 13 times a century, according to NASA. The last visible traffic on Earth was in 2016.

The next is scheduled to occur in 2032, but will not be visible in North America, which can be seen in 2049.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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