View Full Version : Mercury as Summertime Evening Star

2011-Jun-18, 01:35 AM
The elusive little planet Mercury has begun its apparition as an evening star following its superior conjunction behind the Sun on 2011 JUN 12. This will be a mediocre apparition for observers in the northern hemisphere and a fine one for those in the southern hemisphere.

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/mercury

All dates given here are based on North American Central Time. Mercury will attain its greatest altitude at 30 minutes after sunset for Chicagoland on JUL 09 at 8.6°. It will achieve dichotomy (50% illuminated like a Half Moon) on JUL 15. Before then it will appear gibbous and afterward a crescent. Mercury will reach its greatest eastern elongation of 26.8° from the Sun on JUL 20. While decreasing in brightness, it will then fall to inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun on AUG 16.

A slender young crescent Moon will pass about 6° south of Mercury on JUL 02, and 2° south on AUG 01. Mercury will pass 5° south of Pollux on JUN 28. It will move through the Beehive cluster on JUL 06. The planet will pass 3° south of Regulus on JUL 26. It will make no close angular approaches to other planets during this apparition.

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