On May 9, 2016, Mercury passed directly between the sun and Earth.

UPDATE - May 9, 2016: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, spacecraft captured stunning images of the May 9, 2016 transit of Mercury. Dr. Sten Odenwald (NASA/IMAGE) Dr. Bart DePontieu (Lockheed Martin/TRACE) Introduction to Triangulation: Suppose you were trying to measure the width of a canyon from your side to the distant canyon wall. Discover the cosmos! And have students play "Can You Spot Mercury?"

The Moon transits the Sun during an eclipse, but did you know that other objects can transit, too? Transits of Mercury are relatively rare events, with about 13 happening every century, on average. Around 13 times per century, Mercury passes between Earth and the sun in a rare astronomical event known as a planetary transit. A transit of Mercury across the Sun takes place when the planet Mercury passes directly between the Sun and a superior planet, becoming visible against (and hence obscuring a small portion of) the solar disk.During a transit, Mercury appears as a tiny black dot moving across the disk of the Sun. A transit is when one object in space crosses in front of another object in space. in our educational slideshow. See Curiosity's Raw Images of the Sun. Video: Mercury Transits the Sun. The 2016 Mercury transit occurred on May 9, between roughly 7:12 a.m. and 2:42 p.m. EDT. New NASA images from Mars showing Mercury as a dim spot against the sun are the first observation from any planet other than Earth of any planet's solar transit. Astronomy Picture of the Day . Could you come up with a way to make this measurement safely? You couldn't pace the distance. Learn more in this article.

Visit the mission's Transit of Mercury page to see a collection of videos of the transit compiled using SDO images. using Satellite Data. during a Transit of Mercury.

A Mercury transit doesn't happen often, but NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity observed the Mercury transit from the Martian Surface on June 4, 2014. Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. Credit: NASA/SDO .