US-NEWS-SCI-MERCURY-SUN-GET

The planet Mercury is seen in silhouette, lower center of image, as it transits across the face of the sun on May 9, 2016.

In a rare celestial event, Mercury will pass in front of the sun on Monday.

The stellar show, which only happens about 13 times a century, starts at 7:35 a.m. when the tiny planet begins the transit across the sun, according to NASA.

Mercury will be close to the center of the star at approximately 11:20 a.m.

The East Coast of the United States will have the best views of the event.

It’s not safe to look directly at the sun, as it can damage your eyes. Only view the transit with proper safety equipment such as binoculars and telescopes fitted with special filters.

But you will otherwise be able to safely view the innermost planet’s heavenly trek thanks to NASA. The space agency will live-stream the event starting at 10:30 a.m. Monday on the NASA Facebook page at Facebook.com/NASA.

When one of the planets passes in front of the sun, it causes a slight dip in the sun’s brightness as it blocks a tiny portion of the sun’s light, according to NASA. That allows scientists to search for exoplanets, which are planets orbiting distant stars.

Only Mercury and Venus transit the sun. While transits of Mercury happen more often, transits of Venus are rare. That last happened in 2012. The next one will be on Dec. 11, 2117, NASA said.

The last time Mercury passed in front of the sun was in 2016. Its next transit will happen in the United States in 2049, according to NASA.

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