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View Full Version : Mercury as Nov-Dec Evening Star



Centaur
2010-Nov-08, 09:22 PM
The elusive little planet Mercury has begun its apparition as an evening star following its superior conjunction behind the Sun on 2010 OCT 16. This will be a fine apparition for observers in the southern hemisphere, while a somewhat difficult one for those of us north of the tropics.

I’ve created two graphics illustrating Mercury’s evening apparition as viewed from Chicagoland and Sydney. However, they should well serve most observers in the respective hemispheres. They can be seen by clicking http://www.curtrenz.com/astronomical then going to the Inferior Planets page.

All dates given here are based on North American Central Time. Mercury will achieve its greatest eastern elongation of 21.5° from the Sun on DEC 01. It will reach its greatest altitude at 30 minutes after sunset from Chicagoland on DEC 05 at 6.1°. On that same date it will achieve dichotomy (50% illuminated like a Half Moon). Before then it will appear gibbous and afterward a crescent. While decreasing in brightness, it will then fall to inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun on DEC 19.

The 3% illuminated waxing crescent Moon will appear to pass about 2° north of Mercury on DEC 07.

Mercury will pass 2.4° north of Antares on NOV 15, 1.7° south of Mars on NOV 20 and 1.0° north of Mars on DEC 13.

Photos and descriptions of Mercury during the current evening apparition would be welcome additions to this thread.

Xelebes
2010-Nov-10, 04:15 AM
So Jupiter is still largely visible? I am assuming the visible star the past couple months is Jupiter? I'm not that good with star-gazing, obviously. =/

Centaur
2010-Nov-10, 04:53 AM
So Jupiter is still largely visible? I am assuming the visible star the past couple months is Jupiter?

Yes indeed, that brilliant “star” that moves from the southeast to about halfway up in the south during the evening is Jupiter.