PICK OF THE WEEK : Mercury passes by, will be seen again only in 2016

WASHINGTON: On November 8, the planet Mercury passed directly in front the sun. The transit lasted for almost five hours. The Mercury Transit, was last seen in 2003 and will not be seen for another nine-and-half years.

Eight-year-old Wolf Padwer said, “It’s this little dot on the side of the sun. It’s right under a small sun spot.”

The transit a rare occasion: a transit can happen only when Mercury is crossing Earth’s orbital plane at the same time that it catches up to Earth in its orbit around the sun. This happens about a dozen times per century.

Mercury’s transit was visible from various places including the Americas, Australia and eastern Asia. Researchers had warned observers not to look at the sun without proper eye protection.