‘Transit of Mercury’ has community members looking to the skies

People who carefully had their eyes to the sky Monday got to see something special.

The ‘Transit of Mercury’ happened in the morning Monday.

That is when Mercury passes directly between the sun and the earth.

Astronomy fans gathered in La Crosse’s Riverside Park to take in the event, which hasn’t happened since 2016.

Members of the UW-LA Crosse Planetarium and La Crosse Area Astronomical Society helped people witness the event.

There’s a good reason this is so unusual.

“It’s not in the same orbital plane as the earth around the sun, so when it comes near the sun it could be up to several degrees above or below it but every now and then it comes across the sun’s disk. And this one is almost central, it’s going from one side almost through the center,” said Bob Allen, UW-La Crosse planetarium director.

The transit of Mercury only happens about once every seven and a half years.

But you’ll have to wait to catch it again.

It won’t happen again until November 2032.

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