SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — Mercury has begun a relatively rare move across the sun.

The solar-planetary ballet got underway just after 7 a.m. on the east coast with the smallest planet appearing as a tiny black dot on the face of the sun. The transit will last for a total of about 7½ hours. The last time it happened was 2006. It will happen again three years from now, but then not until 2032. NASA says the event occurs only about 13 times a century.

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The entirety of Mercury’s journey will be viewable to the eastern U.S. and Canada, as well as most of western Europe and South America.

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To catch a glimpse, viewers need binoculars or telescopes with protective solar filters. Mercury’s journey can also be seen via a livestream on NASA’s website.

In the Bay Area, the Chabot Space and Science Center will be open for viewing the Transit of Mercury from 6:30 a.m. through 11:30 a.m. At Lick Observatory, an astronomer has set up the facility’s SolarMaxII telescope for viewing between 10 a.m. and 11:40 a.m., for those willing to make the trek up.

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