On May 9, 2016, Mercury passed directly between the sun and Earth.
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The planet Mercury is seen in silhouette, lower third of image, as it transits across the face of the sun Monday, May 9, 2016, as viewed from Boyertown, Pennsylvania.
Astronomers celebrated Monday witnessing one of the highlights of the skywatchers' year, when the Sun, Mercury and Earth all lined up—a phenomenon that happens just a dozen or so times per century.
For the first time in 10 years, Mercury passed directly between the Earth and sun on Monday, resembling a black dot against the vast, glowing face of our star.
The study of the sun's long-term variation over a millennium by means of super computer modelling showed that during a time period of the Maunder Minimum type, the magnetic field may hide at the bottom of the convection zone.
Astronomers are preparing for one of the highlights of the skywatchers' year, when the Sun, Mercury and Earth all line up—a phenomenon that happens just a dozen or so times per century.
Earthlings will witness Mercury make a rare passage between our planet and the Sun on Monday, appearing as a black dot tracking the surface of the star we share with the solar system's smallest planet.
The solar system's smallest and most remarkable planet, Mercury, will cross the face of the sun on May 9 – offering a great opportunity for people in many places across the world to see it.