Warning: Looking directly at the Sun, either during the transit or at any other time, can cause permanent damage to the retina, leading to loss of vision or blindness.

You will not be able to observe the Sun and transit safely using the unaided eye, or by looking through a telescope without a properly designed filter. Mercury will also appear very small (less than 1/150th of the diameter of the Sun) and so you will not be able to see the planet without using one of the methods below.

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. It completes each orbit around our nearest star in just 88 days, and its distance from the Sun varies from 46 to almost 70 million km. (For comparison, the Earth is at a distance of 150 million km.)

PIA14250 smallA 2011 image of Mercury, seen as a crescent by the MESSENGER spacecraft. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington. Click for a full size image