On Monday 9 May, between 13:12:19 and 20:40:33 local time, a Mercury transit
across the solar disk will be visible in its entirety from Belgium. This event will not be
visible with the naked eye. A (small) telescope will be required.
Solar telescopes in Uccle will closely monitor this spectacle. Solar satellites will also be on the look out, so that even in the event of bad weather and cloud cover, the transit can be observed.
Mercury is the smallest and innermost planet of the solar system. It will be visible as a tiny black dot transiting the solar disk in the course of about 7 hours.
A transit is a very spectacular example of the finely tuned planetary motions in our solar system. They are also fairly rare events compared to solar eclipses, with only 14 transits visible this century. The last Mercury transit visible from Belgium dates already back from 7 May 2003, while the next one on 11 November 2019 will only be partially visible.
The planetarium, Brussels will point its telescopes from 13:00 onwards to the Sun so that you can witness the transit with your own eyes. Everybody is welcome!