Mercury at Inferior Conjunction

Today Mercury will be at inferior conjunction. After today the planet will reappear in the dawn, rising high enough from the Sun’s glow to be seen 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.
Inferior conjunction is when the planet passes between the Sun and the Earth. As such the only planets to see inferior conjunction are Mercury and Venus. A transit is possible if the planet passes directly in front of the Sun, but normally this alignment does not occur, the planet passing above or below the Sun as seen from the Earth. 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.

Leave a Reply