Mercury at Maximum Elongation

Today Mercury will be at maximum western elongation, as high in the morning sky as it will appear for this current apparition. After today the planet will slide back into the dawn, passing through superior conjunction on October 8th to reappear in the evening sky around the end of the month.

Mercury Transit 9May2016
Mercury transiting the Sun on May 9, 2016. Celestron C8 and Canon 6D at f/10.
Mercury typically completes three morning and three evening apparitions in each year. While the innermost planet never gets very far from the Sun, maximum elongation represents the best time to observe Mercury as high in the sky as possible.

There are no transits of Mercury in 2017, the next will be Nov 11, 2019.

Mercury Events for 2017
  Date UT Separation Mag
Maximum Elongation Jan 19 24.1°W +0.0
Superior Conjunction Mar 6    
Maximum Elongation Apr 1 19.0°E +0.2
Inferior Conjunction Apr 19    
Maximum Elongation May 17 25.8°W +0.7
Superior Conjunction Jun 21    
Maximum Elongation Jul 30 27.2°E +0.6
Inferior Conjunction Aug 26    
Maximum Elongation Sep 12 17.9°W -0.1
Superior Conjunction Oct 8    
Maximum Elongation Nov 24 22.0°E -0.1
Inferior Conjunction Dec 12    
Source: NASA Sky Calendar and the Mercury Chaser’s Calculator

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i.

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