Watch Mercury Transit the Sun at Chabot Space and Science Center - NBC Bay Area
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Watch Mercury Transit the Sun at Chabot Space and Science Center

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    People will gather today at Chabot Space and Science center to watch Mercury pass in front of the sun. Bob Redell reports. (Published Monday, May 9, 2016)

    Get your Mercury goggles on!

    The planet Mercury will transit the sun for the first time since 2006, and those who want to witness this rare occurrence – only 13 times in a century – can watch it with like-minded science lovers at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland on Monday.

    The plane of Mercury's 88-day orbit around the sun doesn't quite line up with the plane of Earth's orbit, so the smaller planet appears to pass above or below the disk of the sun most of the time. The next Mercury transit will occur in 2019. Although the rocky planet appears larger in May, the spring transits are rarer; the next one won't happen until 2049.

    Astronomers will be on the Chabot Observatory from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to view this rare occurrence from the center’s telescope. Tickets are $5.

    NASA is streaming the event live.