Mercury Transit sets planet against our sun

This morning the planet Mercury passed between our planet and our Sun, allowing us to see its silhouette with clarity. This is one of about 13 times the planet passes between ours and the sun per century – the last time this happened, you probably didn't have a smartphone – back in 2006. The image you see above comes from NASA and was captured by Bill Ingalls. NASA has also provided a time-lapse video showing the passing of the planet across the face of our sun.

This is what's known as a planetary transit. While a similar sort of event happens all the time with our moon, moving in a dance back and forth closer and further away from our sun, this does not happen all that often between planets. The entire event you'll be seeing below took place over the course of seven and a half hours.

The first video we have here comes from, who recorded the event via satellites showing the event happening live at NASA. This was a live streaming event available to the entire earth via the web.

ABOVE: This is a replication of the event which took place this morning.

ABOVE: The next video shows the 2006 transit as seen by ESA/NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

Below you'll see a brief interview with NASA Scientist Dr Alex Young. He explains why this phenomenon is so important – and exciting – to scientists of many sorts.