PDA

View Full Version : I saw Mercury!



beskeptical
2003-Sep-28, 06:21 AM
The last two nights in a row, I woke up just before dawn. I have a big picture window that faces east. There it was, just over the horizon. Jupiter was above it about 45o up in the sky.

Not that this is any big revelation mind you. I just thought it was neat and wanted to tell someone. No one else I know cares. :D

kilopi
2003-Sep-28, 08:04 AM
Cool!

Wait, 45 degrees? That had to be Saturn...

Eroica
2003-Sep-28, 08:45 AM
Wait, 45 degrees? That had to be Saturn...

Jupiter's altitude was only 24 degrees when the Sun rose over Seattle yesterday. Saturn's was 62 degrees. So the question is: does beskeptical overestimate or underestimate angles of altitude?

According to Bad Astronomy (page 83), people always overestimate altitudes. So it may have been Jupiter after all.

I've had to content myself with watching Saturn most mornings. By the time Jupiter and Mercury rise above my neighbours' rooftops, the Sun is well up.

eburacum45
2003-Sep-28, 08:49 AM
I assume you mean at an angle of 45deg from the vertical upwards; Saturn is nearly overhead from my viewpoint in the early mornings.

What I find interesting is that all the Northern Hemisphere people seem to see the same things at dawn, more or less, but at different times.
The same could be said about any time of day, I suppose.

Eroica
2003-Sep-28, 09:54 AM
Saturn is nearly overhead from my viewpoint in the early mornings.

Are you sure that's not Capella? It's slightly brighter than Saturn at the moment. Where you are, Saturn should only be 55 degrees above the horizon around sunrise.

eburacum45
2003-Sep-28, 11:11 AM
No, I know Gemini too well for that mistake.
Saturn is near Mebsuta at the moment...
I was using 'overhead' to contrast with Mercury and Jupiter, which are very low down; I didn't manage to see Mercury last time I looked, because of low cloud, but it is below and to the left of Jupiter at an angle of 45 degrees.

Eroica
2003-Sep-28, 03:37 PM
I didn't manage to see Mercury last time I looked, because of low cloud, but it is below and to the left of Jupiter at an angle of 45 degrees.

Ah, I see what you mean. Sorry for being so slow on the uptake and impugning your observational skills.

kilopi
2003-Sep-28, 04:41 PM
it is below and to the left of Jupiter at an angle of 45 degrees.
I guess part of the problem is knowing where the 45 degrees is measured from, in either case... :)

Chuck
2003-Sep-28, 08:06 PM
Are you sure it wasn't Planet X?

aurora
2003-Sep-28, 08:42 PM
No, I know Gemini too well for that mistake.


Capella is not in Gemini.

kilopi
2003-Sep-28, 08:44 PM
Capella is not in Gemini.
I think he was talking about Saturn, which is in Gemini.

beskeptical
2003-Sep-29, 08:04 AM
Wait, 45 degrees? That had to be Saturn...

Jupiter's altitude was only 24 degrees when the Sun rose over Seattle yesterday. Saturn's was 62 degrees. So the question is: does beskeptical overestimate or underestimate angles of altitude?

According to Bad Astronomy (page 83), people always overestimate altitudes. So it may have been Jupiter after all.

I've had to content myself with watching Saturn most mornings. By the time Jupiter and Mercury rise above my neighbours' rooftops, the Sun is well up.I think the BA would have predicted correctly and it was Jupiter. The reason I know it was Jupiter and Mercury is I looked at a chart and the two were in those spots. I didn't go outside to see where Saturn was. Maybe if I wake up before dawn again soon I will check. :D

SirThoreth
2003-Sep-29, 08:29 AM
Whether it be Jupiter (Jupitor? :wink: ) or Saturn, it's pretty cool either way. Right now (1:30AM), Saturn's to the E-NE in the sky here in San Diego.

A friend of mine loaned me his binocs Friday, so I could get in some observation time. :) Unfortunately, since then, San Diego has been completely overcast every single night. During the day, everything's fine, but at night? Nothing. #-o

There was a brief break in the clouds this evening, which lasted long enough for me to catch Mars (yay!) but that was all I had time for. :(

Ah well....

Kullat Nunu
2003-Sep-29, 10:11 AM
I saw Mercury first time during the conjuction of all classical planets in May 2002. Just after sunset, Mercury was on the border of visibility. Curiously enough, Mars was in the other side of Sun and also almost invisible.

kilopi
2003-Sep-29, 03:13 PM
Maybe if I wake up before dawn again soon I will check.
What time did you wake up a few days ago? Don't you stay up all night? :)

beskeptical
2003-Sep-29, 08:22 PM
Maybe if I wake up before dawn again soon I will check.
What time did you wake up a few days ago? Don't you stay up all night? :)It was before dawn so around 5:30 am.

It varies. :wink: I do have the circadian rhythm of an owl, but trying to function in an earlier rising world has a variable effect.

Dickenmeyer
2003-Sep-30, 05:17 AM
Aaarrgh!! I thought I saw Saturn and Mercury this morning but now I don't know it was Saturn and Jupiter or Jupiter and Mercury! Have to go look at the interactive sky map at S&T now....

beskeptical
2003-Sep-30, 06:52 AM
Aaarrgh!! I thought I saw Saturn and Mercury this morning but now I don't know it was Saturn and Jupiter or Jupiter and Mercury! Have to go look at the interactive sky map at S&T now....It's easy for Mercury, it is very close to the horizon just before dawn. Two days ago, Jupiter was above it at the same time. It looks to me from my chart that Saturn rises much earlier in the night and shouldn't be that close to the other two at that time.

Dickenmeyer
2003-Oct-01, 03:34 AM
Yeah, I've concluded that it was Jupiter and Mercury. I didn't realize that Jupiter would be rising so high and so early yet. I was specifically looking for Mercury because I saw it mentioned in the paper the day before. I didn't see it at first and thought the bright (obvious) planet higher up was Saturn, then I saw Mercury down below.

Charlie in Dayton
2003-Oct-01, 04:01 AM
Having trouble figuring what's what in the sky? Sounds like y'all need to go here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=8418) and spend a dollar...

This concludes tonight's cheap plug. We now return you to your regular casual perusal of the BABB. :-s

beskeptical
2003-Oct-01, 08:26 AM
This is the best site and it's free to register.

http://www.heavens-above.com/

Marjorie
2003-Oct-01, 04:48 PM
I have found both Jupiter and Mercury but I may not have found Saturn yet. Is it as bright as Jupiter? There is something very brilliant in the early morning sky that rises somewhere in the southeast, I think, and by 6 a.m. it is in about the same position that Mars occupies in the late evening. I have been assuming it is Saturn but now I'm not sure. It is much brighter than the star discussed in my thread "Bright Star in Northeast Sky" which we have assumed is Capella. Is there another very bright object out there that hasn't been discussed yet for the early morning sky?

SarahMc
2003-Oct-01, 05:23 PM
Saturn is currently right in the middle of Gemini, between Castor/Pollux and Alhena. If you line up Rigel and Betelguese (in Orion), they point right to Gemini and Saturn. Saturn is the brightest object in Gemini, right in the middle of the constellation.

Edited/Added: If you draw an imaginary line from Capella to Procyon, Saturn lies right about in the middle. If you use Capella and Sirius, it's about half way again, but slightly to the East.

Marjorie
2003-Oct-01, 07:26 PM
Thanks for your post, Sarah. I certainly saw Orion, which isvery distinctive, so I'm looking in the right part of the sky. I wonder if the brilliant star that I'm possibly confusing with Saturn is actually Sirius. It was so brilliant that it could have been.

Unfortunately, the city lights sometimes make it difficult to pick out constellations in their entirety and I often only see the brightest stars and planets. Next time I'm awake early on a clear morning, I'll try again to find Saturn.

Eroica
2003-Oct-01, 07:49 PM
I certainly saw Orion, which is very distinctive, so I'm looking in the right part of the sky. I wonder if the brilliant star that I'm possibly confusing with Saturn is actually Sirius.

In the northern hemisphere, the belt of Orion points down towards Sirius. Saturn is much higher up and not quite as bright as Sirius.

If you've identified Orion, then you should have no trouble finding Saturn. Betelgeuse (the bright orange star in Orion) is about halfway between Saturn and Rigel (the brightest star in Orion).

Marjorie
2003-Oct-02, 04:47 PM
Thanks, Eroica. This morning I didn't wake up early enough for a really good look. The sun was almost up and the sky was beginning to turn blue. I did notice one interesting thing, though. Jupiter and the other brilliant thing that I have been seeing appear to be the last two objects to disappear in the eastern sky as the light of the sun increases. They are both brilliant enough to be still visible when everything else has disappeared completely.

I'll try again another night. In a couple of weeks the clouds will settle in for the next 8 or 9 months and I won't see a thing. My city is really not very good for stargazing, but we do get some beautiful weather in summer and early autumn.