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Mini Mercury skips through the enormous glare of the sun in rare transit



CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Minnie Mercury skipped the huge, glossy face of the sun on Monday in rare heavenly transit.

The launchers used sun-filtered binoculars and telescopes to spot Mercury – a small black dot – as it passed directly between the Earth and the sun on Monday.

The Eastern United States and Canada received the entire show in 5 1/2 hours, allowing time, along with Central and South America. The rest of the world, except Asia and Australia, received only sampling.

Mercury is the smallest, most discovered planet in the Solar System. The next transit is not until 2032, and North America will not get another shot until 2049.

In Maryland, clouds prevented NASA's solar astrophysicist Alex Young from getting a clear peek. Live coverage was provided by observatories, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory in Nasa's orbit.

"It's fatal, but the whole event was still great," Young wrote in an email. "They will both see it from outer space and share it with people all over the country and around the world."

At Cape Canaveral, the space beavers got two for one. As Mercury's silhouette covered the morning sun, SpaceX launched 60 small satellites for global Internet service, part of Starlink's growing constellation in orbit.

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The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Medical Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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