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Eroica
2004-Mar-18, 07:48 PM
I saw Mercury this evening.

Now and the next ten days or so will be your best chance of spotting this elusive object in 2004. It's an evening star, about 5-10 up at sunset, magnitude minus 1 or so.

It will be getting higher throughout next week, but it will also be fading. On 22 March the crescent of the new Moon will be less than 5 away, making a good signpost! 8)

hedin
2004-Mar-18, 08:05 PM
you lucky thing I have only seen it once, one morning on my way to work.
I have the disadvantage of living at high latitudes and it is often overcast here in Denmark.

jt-3d
2004-Mar-19, 06:39 AM
I was out looking for it on the 17th, I never did see it but I stayed out and eyballed some other planets then watched the ISS fly over. Unfortunately I found out that I had missed the Hubble a little bit before the ISS but all in all, not a total bust.

I've only seen Mercury once myself. Elusive little rascal, that one.

hedin
2004-Mar-19, 10:52 AM
try the Heavensabove site for times on when to see sattelites Hubble,Station et al.

crazy4space
2004-Mar-19, 04:10 PM
Now and the next ten days or so will be your best chance of spotting this elusive object in 2004. It's an evening star, about 5-10 up at sunset, magnitude minus 1 or so.

It will be getting higher throughout next week, but it will also be fading. On 22 March the crescent of the new Moon will be less than 5 away, making a good signpost! 8)[/quote]

Thanks for the heads up! I have never seen mercury so this should be interesting.

One thing though - I dont understand the thread title "See Mercury and Die"?

tracer
2004-Mar-19, 04:24 PM
"I can't die yet! I haven't seen the Jolson Story-- er, I mean, Mercury!"


Just last weekend, I, too, saw Mercury for the first time. (Damn, but that sucker is hard to make out against the glare of the just-set sun!) That means I can die now.

Eroica
2004-Mar-19, 04:38 PM
One thing though - I dont understand the thread title "See Mercury and Die"?After the phrase See Naples and Die. (http://phrases.shu.ac.uk/bulletin_board/5/messages/1465.html)

They say that only about 1% of the world's population have ever seen Mercury. On his deathbed Copernicus bewailed the fact that he never saw it!

Mainframes
2004-Mar-19, 04:42 PM
Woohoo! I join the 1% club. Saw mercury once when i had set up really early for a viewing session, about 5 degrees over the horizon and obscured by a lot of haze. The view in the scope just gave a red, orange and yellow glittering splodge.

Must try and catch it higher in the sky where there is less murk!

tracer
2004-Mar-19, 04:46 PM
On his deathbed Copernicus bewailed the fact that he never saw it!
Bah. Serves him right. That son-of-a-biscuit went to all this trouble to make planetary position tables based on his heliocentric model, and they were still no more accurate overall than the geocentrically-derived tables of Ptolemy.

I'll bet Kepler got to see Mercury before he died!

tngolfplayer
2004-Mar-19, 05:52 PM
I have clear skies tonight so I will go looking for it.

milli360
2004-Mar-19, 06:00 PM
I'll bet Kepler got to see Mercury before he died!
But, he missed the double transit (http://www.space.com/spacewatch/mercury_transit_feature_030502.html).

Eroica
2004-Mar-19, 08:35 PM
But, he missed the double transit (http://www.space.com/spacewatch/mercury_transit_feature_030502.html).
He also failed to predict the 1639 transit of Venus!

hickboy
2004-Mar-22, 10:50 PM
They say that only about 1% of the world's population have ever seen Mercury. On his deathbed Copernicus bewailed the fact that he never saw it!

I finally joined the club last night, after trying everyday for about the last week. It would be sunny all day, but then clouds would come in from the west just before sunset. I was starting to get worried I was going to miss this opportunity.

Maksutov
2004-Mar-23, 12:03 PM
I've seen Mercury many times, plus I have it recorded in photographs. Probably the most spectacular were those of May 5 and 6, 1962 where the Moon, Venus, and Mercury were all clustered in the western sky just after sunset. The photo of May 6th shows Mercury below Venus, above which is the crescent Moon. All photographed from a hill in Bethel, CT. :)

eburacum45
2004-Mar-23, 12:27 PM
Last night was the fifth time I have seen Mercury, but the first time I have seen a full house (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=12224)...

Thumper
2004-Mar-23, 01:03 PM
We had a thread about this a year or so ago when the naked eye planets were clustered closer together. There's something mystical and elusive about spying Mercury, but if you look at the right time, it isn't that hard to find. I've seen it three times in the last week. Here in the mid-west of the United States at around 40 degrees N lattitude, it is high up in the West after sunset. It stays up for quite a while.

In addition to Heaven's Above, check out the interactive sky chart (http://skyandtelescope.com) at Sky and Telescope. You can input any location and then toggle through the times and dates to show what is visible.

Clear skies to all, good luck finding Mercury.

Swift
2004-Mar-23, 01:55 PM
=D> Add mercury to my life-list (it's a birding term). I was surprised how bright it was. The crescent moon was a great marker. Does this mean I won't die now. :D Or does it mean my life is complete and now I have to die. :cry:

themusk
2004-Mar-23, 03:00 PM
And now for stirring up envy :-)

I live in a high rise that towers over my surroundings and overlooks one of the largest lakes in America. My view -- and window -- is due west. I easily and comfortably view mercury from my living room any time Mercury is in the West and the sky is clear. I just open up xplns on my home office computer, look at where the "show" should be for that day and time, turn my head to my right, and enjoy the view :-)

<ducking to avoid the beatings>

I suppose to be entirely fair or something, I should require myself to view Mercury in the *east* some day.

Yes, it is stunning how bright Mercury is. When you see it for the first time it really hits you that the problem with seeing Mercury isn't dimness (I have no problem seeing it through a thick plate glass window), its Mercury's height above the horizon after sunset/before sunrise.

Now I have one naked-eye planetary goal left: I want to see Uranus with my eyes alone. Of course, I do conveniently live just a few miles from some of the darkest skies in Eastern North America, so I guess its just a matter of picking my day for a field trip...

<now ducking to avoid the bullets>

I leave my geographic location as an exercise for the reader :-)

Maksutov
2004-Mar-23, 03:54 PM
=D> Add mercury to my life-list (it's a birding term). I was surprised how bright it was. The crescent moon was a great marker. Does this mean I won't die now. :D Or does it mean my life is complete and now I have to die. :cry:

Yup. :)

CERDIP
2004-Mar-23, 04:43 PM
I just open up xplns on my home office computer, look at where the "show" should be for that day and time, turn my head to my right, and enjoy the view :-)


Shun him!

Thumper
2004-Mar-23, 05:19 PM
I leave my geographic location as an exercise for the reader :-)

Erie PA?

Kaptain K
2004-Mar-23, 06:19 PM
Now I have one naked-eye planetary goal left: I want to see Uranus with my eyes alone.
Been there. Done that. 8)

CERDIP
2004-Mar-23, 07:05 PM
Now I have one naked-eye planetary goal left: I want to see Uranus with my eyes alone.
Been there. Done that. 8)

and you're back already ? :o

JohnOwens
2004-Mar-24, 12:32 AM
I finally joined the club last night, after trying everyday for about the last week. It would be sunny all day, but then clouds would come in from the west just before sunset. I was starting to get worried I was going to miss this opportunity.
I've noticed that here; I just went outside to look, and there were those clouds over in the west. I'm starting to think there's a band of clouds that follows the sunset line around the world, east-to-west. Wait a minute... maybe that's why the govment has those airplanes spraying chemtrails! To cause cloudiness around the area experiencing sunset. But why would they want to do that?
Of course! To hide Planet X from us! #-o

milli360
2004-Mar-24, 02:39 AM
Now I have one naked-eye planetary goal left: I want to see Uranus with my eyes alone.
Been there. Done that. 8)
Yeah, it's actually fairly easy. It's not even mag. 6. :)

themusk
2004-Mar-24, 04:17 AM
I leave my geographic location as an exercise for the reader :-)

Erie PA?

Nope. A hint: one of the biggest stretches of dark sky east of the Mississippi runs (with a few breaks) across northern NY and New England.

Lomitus
2004-Mar-24, 05:19 AM
I got to see all five last night! I was heading out for food just after sunset when I realized I could see Mercury, so I headed down to the boat docks on the lake. There are a lot of lights down there, so its not a great place for star gazing, but it does provide a rather unobstructed view and I was able to see the "arc" of all five planets...it was amazing :-) I should also add that the moon looked incredible as well...you could see the whole outline basically. I really wish my telescope was working!!!!!

Bright Blessings all!
Jim

"Wonderous is our great blue ship that sails around the mighty sun and joy to everyone who rides along" - Jeff Lynn

JohnOwens
2004-Mar-24, 08:03 AM
I leave my geographic location as an exercise for the reader :-)
Erie PA?
Nope. A hint: one of the biggest stretches of dark sky east of the Mississippi runs (with a few breaks) across northern NY and New England.
OK, gotta be Lake Ontario then... is Rochester on there? Or is its view more to the north? Don't know what else is on LO more to the east. :-?

Brady Yoon
2004-Mar-24, 08:09 AM
Is Furnace Creek in Death Valley NP, elevation sea level a good place for observing? What are some of the best places for observing in Southern California?

hedin
2004-Mar-24, 11:32 AM
Now I have one naked-eye planetary goal left: I want to see Uranus with my eyes alone.
Been there. Done that. 8)
Yeah, it's actually fairly easy. It's not even mag. 6. :)

unfortunately Denmark is very light polluted :cry: (lots of people, not that big a country).

jfribrg
2004-Mar-24, 04:56 PM
A hint: one of the biggest stretches of dark sky east of the Mississippi runs (with a few breaks) across northern NY and New England.

Just south of there in Pennsylvania is Cherry Springs state park. I was only there once, but what a view for a city dweller like myself. I would estimate skies definitely better than mag 6. IIRC, it is the only place in PA that is completely free of light pollution. Now if we could only be free of the summer humidity and haze that is typical in this part of the country.

themusk
2004-Mar-25, 03:08 AM
OK, gotta be Lake Ontario then... is Rochester on there? Or is its view more to the north? Don't know what else is on LO more to the east. :-?

No, not Lake Ontario. The views there would be to the north, and, if you take a look at the dark sky map you'll see that Rochester lies outside that stretch of dark sky. I live in one of the few spots of light embedded within that stretch of dark sky. And as to whether the lake I can see through my window is one of the Great Lakes, lets just say that's been a matter of debate :-)

Tensor
2004-Mar-25, 05:33 AM
I just have to add this. Tonight, I went out to the beach (the gulf of Mexico is to our west) to try to spot Mercury for the first time. (there are too many trees around our house). I was watching the sun set and I saw my first green flash, then found Mercury a few minutes later. Two firsts in one night. :D

Eroica
2004-Mar-25, 08:07 AM
I live in one of the few spots of light embedded within that stretch of dark sky. And as to whether the lake I can see through my window is one of the Great Lakes, lets just say that's been a matter of debate :-)
Lake Champlain?

themusk
2004-Mar-26, 02:46 AM
Lake Champlain?

You're right! Give that contestant a cookie! or a beer, whichever you prefer.

I live in Burlington VT, with 6.8 limiting magnitude skies just 37 miles away, according to the applet over at the Dark Sky Asociation.

I'm relatively new to the Vermont side of our big pond, but I spent 10 years in a small town surrounded by wilderness in NYS. I'd see meteors in the sky as I'd walk down the town's main street at night. I miss being able to see the skies that well just outside my door every night, but at least the limiting magnitude of Burlington (4.8 ) is much better than what my poor nephew (and young aspiring astronomer) in Chicago has to deal with. For him, stars are something you look at in books. It's almost impossible to see first magnitude stars from his house.

hickboy
2004-Mar-26, 03:26 PM
Burlington VT, with 6.8 limiting magnitude skies just 37 miles away, according to the applet over at the Dark Sky Asociation.

Argghh!! You got me, but just barely. The town I currently live in has a mag of 5.8 with the 6.8 about 45 miles away. Still better than most, but I missed the days when I used to live in southern Utah. The town I lived in was a 6.0 according to the Dark Sky Association, with 6.8 only 10 miles away. In the dark, dry, high altitude air. Now I'm getting all homesick, I think I'll go sit in the corner and sob now...

Eroica
2004-Mar-28, 02:57 PM
I notice that Mercury will pass within 4 arcminutes of first-magnitude star Regulus (Alpha Leonis) on the morning of 10 September 2004.

maryellenandtom
2004-Mar-30, 01:58 AM
After a couple of days of bad weather, we saw Mercury tonight. By then it was dark enough to see the whole parade of six planets (including the one we were standing on).

This wasn't our first view of Mercury, but it was our daughter's first. She has now seen more planets than Copernicus!

Thumper
2004-Mar-30, 02:06 PM
We went camping in Western VA over the weekend. Been there before so remembered that the skies were fairly dark. Sunday night a group of us were just outside Bristol TN. The skies cleared right around sunset and I was hoping for a chance to view the parade. Kept wandering around until I spotted Mercury between some trees over a pole building.

Realizing that less than 1% of the poplulation has seen it, I thought I'd try to increase that percentage. People in my group weren't very enthusiastic but they finally realized if they put there beers down for a few seconds and walked 50 feet, I'd shut up. We all saw it. Then some people in another group came over and asked what we were doing. I think about 20 people saw Mercury that night all but my wife and I for the first time. Kind of made me feel warm and fuzzy.

I think all enjoyed it. I pointed out the other planets, then people started pointing to other stars asking what they were. I think we even talked about Earthshine a bit. Maybe not the highlight of the weekend for any involved but a good experience none the less.

Brady Yoon
2004-Mar-30, 09:36 PM
I finally saw Mercury yesterday night at around 7:00 Pacific Time. Yes!! :D

AstroSmurf
2004-Mar-31, 04:46 PM
Went out to a viewing session at the local astronomy club yesterday night, and got to see the "full house" - all the 5 naked-eye planets (plus the moon and earth if you want to be picky). Beautiful night, crystal clear apart from a few chem, er contrails ;). The club had a few 12" newtonians set up for curious viewers, but I mostly stuck to my binoculars - just being in a place free of light-pollution is a huge advantage.

The guy in charge of that place has some absolutely beautiful equipment; a dome with two newtonians mounted on the same pillar - one 16" and one 21" IIRC. All home-made, except for the mirrors. It wasn't operational at the moment, but increadibly impressive all the same.

Maksutov
2004-Apr-03, 01:57 AM
Over the past twelve days, weather here has interfered with observing for three evenings. The other nine have been either clear or partly cloudy. Due to my backyard having an essentially unrestricted 360 degree view of the sky I've been able to see all five planets each of those evenings from my patio.

Tonight was wonderful. No clouds, great seeing. Mercury above the western horizon, Venus just below the Pleiades, Mars and Saturn next, and a conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter. Great times for planetary and "backyard" observers! :)

Maksutov
2004-Apr-03, 02:02 AM
Lake Champlain?

You're right! Give that contestant a cookie! or a beer, whichever you prefer.

I live in Burlington VT, with 6.8 limiting magnitude skies just 37 miles away, according to the applet over at the Dark Sky Asociation.

I'm relatively new to the Vermont side of our big pond, but I spent 10 years in a small town surrounded by wilderness in NYS. I'd see meteors in the sky as I'd walk down the town's main street at night. I miss being able to see the skies that well just outside my door every night, but at least the limiting magnitude of Burlington (4.8 ) is much better than what my poor nephew (and young aspiring astronomer) in Chicago has to deal with. For him, stars are something you look at in books. It's almost impossible to see first magnitude stars from his house.

You weren't in E'town, by any chance, were you?

themusk
2004-Apr-03, 02:35 AM
You weren't in E'town, by any chance, were you?

What's E'town? I assume you're referring to where my nephew lives. He lives on the southwest side of the city. The sky there is one big orange-yellow glow, with an occasional very bright planet peeking out of the glow and a handful of first magnitude stars barely visible if you knew where to look.

At least I persuaded his department store grade refractor to show us Jupiter and its moons... but then the largest moons of Jupiter ought to be easily visible with all but the worst of binoculars. For the most part, his scope is just a room decoration, and not because its a cheap Tasco.

Lights are nice things. Filling the sky with them is not a nice thing.

Maksutov
2004-Apr-03, 02:55 AM
You weren't in E'town, by any chance, were you?

What's E'town? I assume you're referring to where my nephew lives. He lives on the southwest side of the city. The sky there is one big orange-yellow glow, with an occasional very bright planet peeking out of the glow and a handful of first magnitude stars barely visible if you knew where to look.

At least I persuaded his department store grade refractor to show us Jupiter and its moons... but then the largest moons of Jupiter ought to be easily visible with all but the worst of binoculars. For the most part, his scope is just a room decoration, and not because its a cheap Tasco.

Lights are nice things. Filling the sky with them is not a nice thing.

Elizabethtown, NY, nestled east of the High Peaks areas of the Adirondacks. Gotta be pretty dark there. Been in Lake Placid and a number of towns along Lake Champlain at night and the skies are spectacular. :)

Too bad about that Chi-town light pollution. :(

themusk
2004-Apr-03, 03:45 AM
Elizabethtown, NY, nestled east of the High Peaks areas of the Adirondacks. Gotta be pretty dark there. Been in Lake Placid and a number of towns along Lake Champlain at night and the skies are spectacular. :)

No, until a few years ago I lived in the nothern Catskills. Catskill Park, though not as large or as undeveloped as Adirondack Park, is respectably dark in its own right, in the right places.

There was a spot near my house in NY, almost a day's hike off the marked trails (yep, bring your land navigation skills (pre-GPS in my day), and leave your caution trailside...) where I'd go turkey hunting. It was a hollow, surrounded on all sides by mountains that blocked whatever light came from the small towns in the area. At night, I sometimes couldn't identify the constellations, for all the stars that I saw.

somerandomguy
2004-Apr-04, 03:18 AM
I saw it! I saw it! \:D/

Tangled in the treetops as the sun sank just below the horizon, there it was ... Not only that, but I saw Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and good old Luna as the caboose of the train. I know that's no big deal to you folks, but for this ultra-lame starlooker, it was quite an accomplishment.

The best part, though, came precisely at 7:42 p.m. local time. Bright as a middling star, the International Space Station cruised across the evening sky, arcing just north of Saturn. Like a shooting star that slowed down to wave, it ensnared my attention for more than a minute as it drifted through space. Amazing. Just amazing.

Thank you Heavens-Above! (www.heavens-above.com)

jt-3d
2004-Apr-04, 09:05 AM
Bah, now that the clouds have finally thinned somewhat, I keep forgetting to look.

dakini
2004-Apr-04, 04:44 PM
i've yet to see mercury. living between the city and the suburbs sucks. there are buildings blocking my view everywhere.

yorkshire_guy
2004-Apr-04, 05:10 PM
Its really difficult to see Mercury from where I live (the UK) due to the high latitude, moist atmosphere and probably air pollution as well. I've only really seen it well once from the ground - in the middle of the Sahara Desert in North Africa! I have spotted it a few times though when flying on commercial flights around sunset and sunrise, and it can be surprising bright seen from 40000feet up. I guess the air is clearer, stiller and the twilight dimmer at this altitude. Its not a small achievement that the ancient Greeks managed to recognise it as a planet at all from its fleeting appearances at greatest elongations. On a slightly different note I was amazed to spot Venus last week about an hour BEFORE sunset! I'm quite curious now as to whether Venus can be spotted any time of day if you know exactly where to look.

milli360
2004-Apr-04, 07:19 PM
I'm quite curious now as to whether Venus can be spotted any time of day if you know exactly where to look.
Definitely. If you line it up properly, you can show whole groups where it is.

Brady Yoon
2004-Apr-04, 07:41 PM
Is it possible to see any other planets besides Venus in full daylight?

cyswxman
2004-Apr-04, 07:46 PM
Yes, the Earth! :lol:

Sorry. :oops:

Seriously, I don't think so. No others get bright enough. Mars can get pretty bright, but that's only at opposition.

milli360
2004-Apr-04, 08:54 PM
I've seen Jupiter in the daytime.

The BA, in his book, says that Sirius is just below the limit--but Mars and Jupiter get much brighter than Sirius.