Today Mercury reaches maximum elongation, the furthest point it will reach from the Sun in the sky and the highest it will be above the sunset for this evening apparition. The planet is easily visible as a bright, starlike object about 18° above the setting Sun as twilight begins. Over the next couple weeks Mercury will slide back into the sunset, heading for inferior conjunction on March 4th.
The planet Mercury is starting an evening apparition. The planet should become visible this week just above the fading glow of the setting Sun as a magnitude -1 object. Currently about 10° from the Sun it will rise higher each evening, reaching a maximum elongation of 18° on February 16th.
Tonight will find the Moon about 7° away from Jupiter. Tomorrow the pair will be even closer, a separation of only 4.5°. The pair will be well up at sunset, to dominate the sky for much of the night.
A very thin crescent Moon will be near Mars tonight. The Moon, only 5% illuminated, with be about 6° away from the Moon. The pair will be about the same elevation, 23° above the horizon at sunset.
Tomorrow morning, December 11th, a nice trio will see three bright objects create a close 6° triangle. Lowest of the three will be Mercury, shining brightly at -0.6 magnitude, at about 18° elevation at sunrise. About 4° above Mercury will be a nice 4% illuminated crescent Moon. Above the Moon will be Venus, shining at -3.9 magnitude it will be very hard to miss. About 16° above the trio you can find Saturn, making three bright planets in the dawn. This conjunction should be worth setting the alarm clock early for.
Tomorrow morning, December 10th, you will find a nice lineup of planets in the dawn sky. Mercury, Venus and Saturn will be in a line about 20° long. Adding to the lineup will be a nice crescent Moon, a bit over 10° higher in the sky than Saturn.
The view at 06:00HST will find a 19% illuminated Moon at 38° elevation. Working down the line you will see Saturn at 29° elevation, Venus at 15° elevation and Mercury at 9° elevation. With sunrise not until 06:46HST this will give plenty of time to view, and perhaps photograph, a line of planets in the dawn.
Over the next few days the view will be much the same, with the Moon lower each morning. On December 11th the Moon will sit between Venus and Mercury creating a nice trio.
Today Mercury reaches maximum elongation, the furthest point it will reach from the Sun in the sky and the highest it will be above the sunrise for this morning apparition. The planet is easily visible as a bright, starlike object about 15° above the rising Sun as the twilight begins. Over the next couple weeks Mercury will slide back into the sunrise, heading for superior conjunction on February 16th.
Jupiter will pass through opposition at 14:43 today. The planet will rise at sunset and transit at midnight, available for observation for the entire night. For the remainder of the year and much of the spring, the planet will shine brightly in the evening sky.