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Mercury Transit 2019: How a Spacecraft Fleet Can Watch Rare Event from Space



On Monday (November 11), Mercury will move toward the sun and many spacecraft will have scenes in the rare event.

Spacecraft has captured incredible images of past Mercury transits, and this year promises some exciting observations from space. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) were observing the sun during Mercury's nearly 5.5 trips, and a Japanese missions can also provide close-ups

On Earth, skyscrapers in North America, South America, Europe, Europe, and Antarctica can view the event using the ISO-certified safe daily gear viewing ̵

1; weather permitting. Those in Alaska, the Pacific and Asia will not catch the event, as the sun will be at the bottom of the horizon when Mercury passes in front of the star like a traveling wreck. Fortunately, the teams behind many space missions will share uninterrupted views on Mercury's transit.

Related: Mercury Transit 2019: Where and How to See It on November 11

This last-minute image of Mercury transit was taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on May 9, 2016, in association with the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly.

(Image credit: JAXA / NASA / PPARC) [19659010] The SDO was designed to study changes in the activity of the sun and how it influences the Earth. Now in the ninth year of our planet's departure, the SDO continues to take measurements of the sun's interior, magnetic field and the hot outer atmosphere of the star, called the corona . Three scientific experiments on the SDO board monitor the day's tidbits: the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), the EUV Variability Experiment (EVE) and the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI). During its lifetime, the entire SDO solar cycle produced over 350 million images and was used in more than 3,000 research papers, according to NASA .

A team from SDO will regularly update its website with the latest views of Mercury on November 11 in transit, accessible here starting at 7:00 EST (1200 GMT ), about half an hour before Mercury's first contact (when the planet's silhouette was tangent to the solar disk for the first time).

NASA also operates SOHO, a 12-instrument spacecraft built in cooperation with the European Space Agency. SOHO is in the space longer than SDO, which was launched more than two decades ago. It maintains regular tabs during the day and produces many daytime views in gif-movie format. Like SDO, they are regularly updated on the NASA website. Mercury is likely to appear in these views, even as a speeding trend in an accelerated time-lapse video. SOHO videos can be viewed here .

Japan of Japan by Hinode. spacecraft obtained this image of Mercury passing through the sun on November 8,2006, using the spacecraft's Solar Optical Telescope instrument.

(Image credit: JAXA / NASA / PPARC)

The Hinode [19459005Asatellite-observationsatheatellitenatapapanJapanAerospaceExplorationAgency(JAXA)hasbeengreatlyimproved by the Mercury. The mission team will publish the images sometime after the November 11 event, a NASA spokesperson told Space.com. (Hinode is also part of the Solar Terrestrial Probes Program within the Heliophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.) The 13-year-old mission is equipped with three powerful telescopes that assist scientists in studied how solar phenomena such as heating and magnetism affect dramatic star activity, such as solar flares .

Hinode also captured larger shadows passing before the sun, such as the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse .

There are several newer missions that guard the sun and Mercury. The joint European-Japanese BepiColombo mission was launched last year and has already received over 500 images ( such as this selfie ) on a lengthy journey to reach Mercury. But it's not an engineer to look at during the day, Erika Verbelen, an ESA spokeswoman, told Space.com, so it won't see solar transit on Monday.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe has the star name itself in its mission title, but so far the instruments have been turned off. Although they are turned on, which happens when the probe is near the sun in this mission orbit, the Parker Solar Probe is not designed to take direct photos of the sun, Karen C. Fox, a spokeswoman for NASA, Space.com said. Instead, it takes observations of the solar wind that flows into the sun.

Editor's Note : Visit Space.com on November 11 to see live webcast views of Mercury's rare move as shown from telescopes on Earth and in space , with the full scope of the event in heaven. If you SAFELY took a picture of the Mercury shift and you want to share it with Space.com and our news partners for a story or gallery, you can send pictures and comments to [19659021] spacephotos @ space.com .

Follow Doris Elin Urrutia on Twitter @salazar_elin . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook .

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