Watch: NASA’s time-lapse of Mercury’s transit across the Sun
If you tried to to watch Mercury crossing in front of the Sun yesterday, chances are you didn’t get as good a view as NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Mercifully, the space agency has put together a stunning time lapse so you can watch the spectacle again.
The Solar Dynamics Observatory was launched in 2010 to study the Sun’s solar atmosphere, in order to understand the influence of the Sun on the Earth and the rest of the Solar System. It studies the star in numerous different wavelengths, many of which NASA has included in this time lapse.
Mercury only passes between us and our view of the Sun around 13 times per century, so this is the best footage you have to watch for a little while. Certainly, scientists will be making use of this rare occurrence for a while yet, too, as our own Ria Misra points out: Exoplanet hunters make use of the slight dimming of the sun to improve the contrast of their observations.