Extra significance for NZ today as planet Mercury makes rare waltz across sun

Eagle-eyed space gazers have been getting a close-up view of the closest planet to the sun.

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The transit of Mercury only happens about 13 times every century. This morning was one of them. Source: 1 NEWS

The transit of Mercury happens only about 13 times every 100 years.

At Cook's Beach in the Coromandel this morning, the transit had extra significance.

There, almost 250-years-ago to the day, astronomer Charles Green from the Endeavour was looking at the same thing.

"They were on an expedition - a scientific expedition, specifically - to look at the transit of Mercury and the transit of Venus from Tahiti in order to calculate longitude which was so important for their navigation of the oceans," astrophysicist professor Emma Bunce told 1 NEWS.

The weather at Cook's Beach caused early nerves but cleared in time for the spectacle to be witnessed.

Watch the astrological event in the video above.