Thick clouds prevent viewing transit of Mercury

OAKLAND (KRON/BCN) — Skywatchers hoping to catch a glimpse of the transit of Mercury Monday morning were stymied by persistent Bay Area cloud cover that didn’t clear up until Monday afternoon, after Mercury had already traversed the face of the sun.

The Chabot Space and Science Center had invited curious observers to view the celestial event there starting at about 6:30 a.m., but while a few people trickled up, the sun was blocked behind a thick layer of gray clouds.

There may have been a momentary break for about 30 seconds, allowing a guest or two to catch a peek of Mercury, but the clouds didn’t clear up before it was all over at about 11:30 a.m., according to center officials.

A transit of Mercury happens about 13 or 14 times per century when Mercury’s orbit takes it between the Earth and the sun. During the event, Mercury appears as a small black dot moving across the face of the sun.

The last transit of Mercury happened in 2006. The next will happen on Nov. 11, 2019.

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