The planet Mercury has made a rare transit, passing directly between Earth and the Sun – an event that won’t happen again for 13 years.

The Science and Innovation Department in Pretoria hosted an event to view Mercury’s movement. It was seen in South Africa between 14H35 and sunset.

Mercury appeared as a small black dot moving across the face of the Sun, unlike a solar eclipse, when the Moon wholly or partially covers the Sun. The department’s Charles Takalani explains what is behind Mercury’s movement.

“This is a similar event to solar eclipse, they happen over many years; today’s event.. the next one will occur in 2032. It is used to develop the astronomical unit which is used to measure the distance between objects in the solar system. Mercury as a planet is bigger than the moon however it is very far away from us so we will see a tiny object passing in front of the Sun.

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