Transit of Mercury 2016: Watch the rare celestial event

Mercury makes rare transit across sun's face
Mercury makes rare transit across sun's face

The transit of Mercury, during which the solar system's smallest planet crosses in front of sun, took place on the afternoon of Monday, May 9.

The last time Mercury crossed the face of the sun was 2006. The planet's orbit is tilted 7 degrees to that of Earth, therefore Mercury usually passes above or below the sun from our perspective, reports the Guardian.

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The fastest and innermost planet took about 7.5 hours to complete Monday's journey across the sun. During the transit, a small, round shadow was visible on Earth. It was even fully visible from parts of Europe, eastern North America and South America.

In order to view the event, scientists around the world used telescopes fitted with special solar filters to prevent eye damage.

Mercury Poised for Rare Transit Across the Sun's Face
Mercury Poised for Rare Transit Across the Sun's Face