Watch Mercury make a rare morning transit of the sun

While most of us were slumbering early this morning or just getting our brains percolating for a busy Monday, a rare celestial event was occurring in the cosmos above.

The planet Mercury made a rare transit of the sun starting at approximately 7:00 a.m. EDT, appearing as a minuscule black dot before the blazing brightness of our beloved star. One of only 14 transits to take place this century, this daybreak event certainly qualifies as an uncommon spectacle.  Slooh's Canary Island observatory hosted the remarkable live transit that you can view below.

“Transits used to be very important during the 17th and 18th centuries as a way to understand celestial mechanics,” said Paul Cox, Slooh Host and Community Manager. “Measuring parallax [the way that an object appears to be in different places depending on your line of sight] was the one way they could measure the scale of our solar system. It’s a great opportunity to show people these celestial mechanics in action first hand, and live. It reminds us that we’re part of this group of planets orbiting a home star. We very rarely get that sense of place.”

Take a peek and tell us if this fiery Mercury transit puts things in perspective for you.  The full event unfolded over a span of several hours and ended at 2:45 p.m. EDT, so you may want to skip around a bit, unless you've got a lot of time to kill.

(Via Wired)

More from around the web