The Moon, Venus and Aldebaran join up for an evening conjunction
The three brightest planets are about to join up for an evening dance set. Currently Mercury is rising clear of the Sun’s glare into the evening sky. There it will join Venus and Jupiter for a conjunction that will continue, with various partners, for over a month. The three dancers will be well matched for brightness, with Mercury shining around -1 magnitude
, Jupiter at -2, and Venus around -4 magnitude.
On the evening of May 24th Venus and Mercury will be about 2° apart with Jupiter 4° above. Closest approach of the three will occur the evening of May 26th with the trio forming a neat triangle about 2° on a side. On the 28th Venus and Jupiter will be just over 1° apart. During the first few days of June, the planet Jupiter will bow out of the dance, exiting the stage into the Sun’s glare. Venus and Mercury will join up one more time for a few days after June 17th, with a close approach on the 19th and 20th with about 2° separation between the two. When Mercury also heads into the sunset this dance will end during the last days of June.
On the 9th and 10th of June the Moon will run across the stage, a very thin crescent around 2% illuminated and 6° south of the planets.
Much of the dance will take place about 15° above the sunset, high enough to be nicely visible, low enough that the glow of sunset will provide a colorful backdrop to light the stage.
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 24° on June 12th.
Mercury will join Venus and Jupiter in the sunset making for a series of planetary conjunctions over the coming month.
Today Mercury passes through superior conjunction, passing behind the Sun as seen from the Earth. The planet will appear in the sunset near the end of the month, reaching maximum elongation on June 12th.
Continue reading Mercury at Superior Conjunction…
Mercury is sliding into the light of dawn this week. Currently about 10° elevation at sunrise, the planet will disappear into the Sun’s glare over the next few days. It will pass through superior conjunction on May 11th, to reappear for an evening apparition around May 20th.
Tomorrow morning, on April 8th, a thin crescent Moon will share the sky with Mercury. The pair will be separated by 8°41′ with the Moon further north. Both will be about rise within minutes of each other about 04:55HST and both will be about 16° above the horizon at sunrise. At magnitude 0.1 Mercury should be easy to spot, making a nice companion to a 3% illuminated Moon.
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 28° 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 May 11th.
Continue reading Mercury at Maximum Elongation…
Tomorrow morning, on March 10th, the Moon and Mercury will form a close pair. The Moon will be a very thin crescent, only 1.75% illuminated. Mercury will be only 2° below, shining at 2.7 magnitude. The pair will rise about 05:38HST, and will be 12° above the horizon at sunrise.
Mercury will begin a morning apparition this week. The planet is currently about 10° above the rising Sun, climbing higher each morning. Look for a 2nd magnitude star-like object just above the glow of dawn. Mercury will reach a maximum elongation of 28° on March 31st.
Tomorrow morning, March 10th, the planet will be just 2° below a razor thin Moon. The Moon will be about 1.7% illuminated and will rise at 05:38HST, just 14° and about and hour ahead of the Sun.
Today the planet Mercury passes through inferior conjunction, passing between the Sun and the Earth. In a week or so the planet will again be visible in the dawn sky, climbing higher each day. Maximum elongation will occur March 31st.
Continue reading Mercury at Inferior Conjunction…
Mercury will exit the evening sky this week. Currently about 10° above the setting Sun, it will quickly orbit back into the Sun’s glare. It will pass through inferior conjunction on March 4th to reappear in the dawn around March 10th.