Our cosmic neighbor Mercury is the runt of the solar system; it’s not much bigger than Earth’s moon and is so hard to spot that it’s known as “the elusive planet.” But we’re about to get a rare and spectacular view of the tiny world as it sails across the sun in an event known as a transit.

On Monday (Nov. 11), Mercury will pass between Earth and the sun. Because the planet is so tiny and so close to the sun, it doesn’t block the sun’s light, as the moon does during an eclipse. Rather, Mercury will be visible from Earth as a wee dot silhouetted against a vast, glowing, solar backdrop, according to NASA.

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