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VIDEO: Watch Mercury Transit in Front of the Sun; Why This Celestial Occurrence is Important

May 11, 2016 02:42 AM EDT

A celestial extravaganza as rare as the Mercury transit, which only occurs a few times in a century, was carefully documented by experts including of course, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

"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. Mercury passes between Earth and the sun only about 13 times a century, with the previous transit taking place in 2006" said NASA in their official report about the Mercury Transit.

The images released by NASA could be the best image produced of the transit, thanks to their technology.

"NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, studies the sun 24/7 and captured the entire seven-and-a-half-hour event. This composite image of Mercury's journey across the sun was created with visible-light images from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on SDO" NASA said.

According to NASA, the movements of celestial bodies is integral to their research to further understand the universe, but a celestial movement which can be seen by the naked eye elevates the importance of this event.

"Astronomers get excited when any two things come close to each other in the heavens...This is a big deal for us" said Louis Mayo, program manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The NASA Goddard Space Center released the most fascinating and high-definition video of Mercury's transit across the sun and it is definitely worth watching.In the time lapse video released by NASA, they used various angles and video formats to document the phenomena.


Some say that this movement of the gigantic celestial bodies in the Universe is so magnificent that people shouldn't miss it if something like this happen in their lifetime. 

In a report by Time Magazine, they said the Mercury transit gives everyone a glimpse of another planet, which is usually hidden behind other bodies in the solar system.

As elusive at it is, the 7-hour window to observe, film and photograph the planet will help scientists to reveal more information about it. Time further added that during celestial movement, Mercury is capable of releasing "one trillion 1-megaton bombs" of explosive energy while surviving it. Mercury has spend its existence in proximity with the Sun, and yet surviving the fire and heat excreted by the star.

And according to NASA, a planet visible in plain sight helps researchers in studying the planet in so many advantageous ways because normally, the small planet of Mercury is hidden from view. This rare event only happens a few times in a century, which is why every detail gathered is of severe importance in the study of Mercury, the solar system and the universe.

Enhanced view: 

NASA is also looking at this transit in front of the sun, to aid in some system calibration which will base the measurement from Mercury's movement.

"SDO will be able to use the transit to help with instrument alignment. Because scientists know so precisely where Mercury should be in relationship to the sun, they can use it as a marker to fine tune exactly how their instruments should be pointed. The transit can also be used to help calibrate space instruments. The utter darkness of the planet provides an opportunity to study effects on the observations of stray light within the instrument. The backside of Mercury should appear black as it moves across the face of the sun. But because instruments scatter some light, Mercury will look slightly illuminated" said Sarah Schneider of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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