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Dubai: UAE residents can watch a rare "astronomical alignment" referred to as the Mercury Transit on November 11. Dubai Astronomy Group has organised an event from 4pm onwards at Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre.

Quick advice: Don’t view this rare celestial event — the passing of planet Mercury directly between the sun and Earth — without filters, warns Dubai Astronomy Group.

The alignment, when Mercury becomes visible as a black dot over the Sun's disc — event starts from about 4.35pm today, November 11, 2019.

You can safely view the Youtube livestream of the telecast, via the link below.

The event marks the rare passing of planet Mercury directly between the sun and earth, becoming visible against the solar disc.


The year when the planet Mercury will next pass directly between the sun and earth, becoming visible against the solar disc

The next transit is expected in November 2032.

Observers in the UAE will notice a small black dot moving across the disk of the sun from 4.35pm for around 58 minutes.

An artist's view of a celestial event from 4.30pm in the UAE, when observing the planet Mercury as it passes the Sun. Image Credit: File

Viewers of the event should take precaution when observing the sun.

Hasan Al Hariri, CEO of the Dubai Astronomy Group, said the viewing should be done through filtered telescopes and other optical aids. “While observing the sun you must take extreme caution to ensure that no one looks directly at the sun or through a telescope without filters. This can damage the eyes, cause painful burns and may even result in blindness,” he warned.

Al Hariri invited people to visit Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre for safe observation. The centre will be arranging telescopes, filters and other technical equipment.

Timings of transit

Duration of full transit 55 minutes and 15 seconds

Transit begins: 4:35:01 pm

Do’s and Don’ts when observing the transit

DO: View the sun only through special filters made specifically for safe solar viewing. Ensure they are designed to be fitted securely to the kind of instrument you have.

DON’T ever look at the sun without proper eye protection.

DON’T view the sun through sunglasses of any type (single or multiple pairs), or filters made from photographic film, or any combination of photographic filters, crossed polarisers or gelatin filters, CDs, CD-ROMs, or smoked glass. None of these are safe.

DON’T fit any filter to a telescope without first checking it thoroughly for damage. If it is scuffed, scratched, has pinholes in it, or you have any other doubts about it at all, DON’T use it.

Roudha Mejren is a Gulf News Trainee Reporter