Forget the meteor showers, coming up you can see the Mercury Transit.

A transit is an event in which the planet moves directly between the earth and the sun. This means if you look at the sun (with a special filter as to not blind yourself), you can see the planet move across the surface of the sun. This type of event is much rarer than a meteor shower.

There are only two types of transits that we can see here on earth. The Mercury transit, and the Venus transit. This is because those are the only two planets between the earth and the sun.

The upcoming Mercury transit takes place on Monday, November 11. For us here in North America, we can see it pretty much all morning long and into the early afternoon. This of course dependent on the weather. Hopefully we’ll see clearing rather than clouds.

It’s important to emphasize that you cannot view this with the naked eye, but rather you’ll need some special glasses or filters for your telescope or binoculars. If you still have glasses leftover after the last solar eclipse, you can use those… but it’ll be hard to see the planet because it’s very small compared to the sun. If you don’t have any of those options, you can always watch the transit online.

The last time the planet mercury transited across the sun was in May of 2016, and again in November of 2006. It will be a little while before it happens again. November 13 of 2032 is the next time we’ll see the planet Mercury transit the sun.

As for the planet Venus, this doesn’t happen as often. It also happens to occur in 2 year groups. The last Venus transit was in June of 2012 and June of 2004. Before that it was 1874 and 1882. The next Venus transit will take place in December of 2117.