Mercury at Superior Conjunction

Today Mercury will be at superior conjunction. After today the planet will reappear in the evening sky, rising high enough from the Sun’s glow to be seen early next month.

Mercury Transit 9May2016
Mercury transiting the Sun on May 9, 2016. Celestron C8 and Canon 6D at f/10.
Superior conjunction is when the planet passes around the far side of the Sun as seen from Earth. For a few weeks the planet will be lost in the Sun’s glare, hidden from view.

As Mercury is on an orbit inside that of Earth’s it will see both inferior and superior conjunctions as it passes from the evening sky to the dawn sky and back again.

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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