CALGARY — Astronomers in Calgary got a rare, up-close view of the transit of Mercury on Monday as it traveled across the face of the sun.

Only visible through a telescope, Mercury made its way across the sun beginning at 7:42 a.m. and ending at 11:04 a.m.

“We won’t see it again in North America until 2049, so you’ve got to wait 30 years if you didn’t get a chance to see it today,” said Robyn Foret, vice-president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. 

Alexa Carleton is studying science at Ambrose University and was excited by the rare occurrence.

“You can learn so much by doing rather than sitting in a classroom,” said Carleton. 

“I guess I was really fascinated with the stuff beyond Earth and the different planets there and the different stars and kind of looking at the history.”

Stephen Jeans, an Earth and science professor at Ambrose University, believes the cold weather played a part. 

Mercury transit sun

What that looks like a grain of sand in the upper right corner of this photo is actually Mercury as it passes in front of the sun. (Photo courtesy Mohamad Elzohbi)

“Very cold weather, but that’s the way astronomy is,” said Jeans. 

“Sometimes you get beautiful observing on days like today and you get a chance to come out and see a rare celestial event.”

2016 was the last time the event was visible from Earth through a telescope. 

“We’ve got colleagues in Halifax that were tweeting this morning saying it’s a bust, too cloudy,” said Foret.

“Toronto, same thing, they’re in snow storms I believe.”

The next transit will be in 2032.