On Monday morning, Nov. 11, the planet Mercury will transit across the face of the sun and become visible as a small black dot as it passes between the sun and Earth.
The transit begins at 5:35 a.m. Mountain time, 1 hour and 15 minutes before local sunrise at 6:50 a.m. The transit ends at 11:04 a.m., when Mercury finishes crossing the sun and disappears from view.
Mercury averages about 13 solar transits every century, so the next transit will occur in the year 2032, 13 years from now.
The best and safest way to see transits is to project a solar image through telescopes or binoculars onto a flat white surface.
It is extremely dangerous to look directly at the sun through instrument eyepieces because concentrated solar rays can damage your eyes instantly and even blind you. Only proper solar filters attached to instruments would allow safe direct viewing.
Local weather should cooperate and provide clear skies Monday for viewing.
The San Juan College Planetarium will host a viewing from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, in the San Juan College courtyard between the planetarium and the Little Theater, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington.
Jim Andrus is a weather watcher for the National Weather Service. He lives in Cortez.