Mercury will pass across the face of the sun Monday (Nov. 11) in its first such "transit" since 2016.
LiveScience, By Elizabeth Howell
© LiveScience | Mercury Transit on Monday: The Gear You Need to Watch It Safely.
The Mercury transit — which begins Monday at 7:35 a.m. EST (1235 GMT) and ends at 1:02 p.m. EST (1804 GMT) — is accessible to amateur astronomers, as long as they have the right equipment to view the event safely. (Warning: Never look directly at the sun without protection; serious and permanent eye damage can result.)
Here's a brief rundown of the ways you can safely watch the transit, either first-hand or live online.

Projecting the image

Mercury is so small that projecting the image using a simple pinhole camera, as many observers do to view solar eclipses, will not produce good results; it's likely you won't be able to see anything at all. Instead, you can project the image using binoculars, refractors or small Newtonian telescopes. (Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov designs can't be used for this, because of the risk of damage.)
Put a low-power eyepiece into your telescope — one that you don't mind losing if the sun's heat cracks it. Do not look through the eyepiece or the finder scope. Instead, align the telescope using its shadow on the ground. The more closely aligned the scope is to the sun, the darker and more circular its shadow will appear, according to the British Astronomical Association (BAA).
Take a piece of white paper and hold it about 1 foot (30 centimeters) away from the eyepiece to see the image. You may need to wiggle the telescope a bit to get a good view.

Binoculars or telescopes

You can also outfit your binoculars or telescope with solar filters to view the transit. The type of solar filter depends on your equipment, so check with the manufacturer to see what's approved.
Alternatively, you can make your own filters using a sheet of Mylar or Baader AstroSolar Film. Just be sure that the homemade filter is securely over the front end of your binoculars or telescope, with no cracks.
"It is essential that the filter fixes very securely to your telescope, that it is undamaged, and that it is designed for safe use with your telescope," the BAA officials wrote in a press release. "Only buy from reputable suppliers you trust, and thoroughly inspect your filters for damage every time you use them."
Filters designed for eyepieces should never be used because they are "of suspect quality" and often crack when exposed to the sun's heat, the BAA added.
This article was originally published at LiveScience. 
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