(FILES) This file photo taken on October 30, 2008 shows a NASA handout image released on October 29, 2008 of the Planet Mercury. / AFP / NASA / HO
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Stargazers will have a rare opportunity on Monday to witness Mercury fly directly across the face of the sun, a sight that unfolds once every 10 years or so, as Earth and its smaller neighboring planet come into perfect alignment.The tiny planet, slightly larger than Earth's moon, will start off as a small black dot on the edge of the sun at 7:12 a.m. Eastern (11:12 GMT). Traveling 30 miles (48 km) a second, Mercury will take 7.5 hours to cross the face of the sun, which is about 864,300 miles (1.39 million km) in diameter, or about 109 times larger than Earth.Mercury's last transit was in 2006 and the planet will pass between the sun and Earth again in 2019 .
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