Become a backyard stargazer for rare astronomical event

VIDEO: Become a backyard stargazer for rare astronomical event

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There's a free show available to watch every night and all you have to do is look up.

"The stars are always up there, they're beautiful. There's always something to see if you know what you're looking for," said Dr. Bradley E. Schaefer, Professor of Physics & Astronomy.

This weekend, the smallest planet in our solar system is taking a rare journey.

"There's going to be a transit, where the planet Mercury passes in front of the sun, you can see it in silhouette as it passes in front of the sun," he said. "Any pair of binoculars will work. The ones you use at the LSU football game will be fine."

Finding the location, however, takes a little more coordination. You'll need to seek a location without a lot of trees and with the least amount of city light possible.

"What I often do is go on to the levee, because there aren't very many trees to cover the grounds," he said. "Or here's one, pick a back country graveyard and go out there in the middle of the night."

Where ever you go, all you really need is an appreciation for what you'll see.

"It's just humbling to see the huge majesty of everything out there."

NASA is streaming the Mercury event on Monday, May 9 starting at 7:12 a.m. and lasting until 2:42 p.m. The last time this event happened was in 2006 and will not happen again until 2019.

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