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Astro Bob

Want To See Mercury? Here’s How

4 Jun 2019, 15:36 UTC
Want To See Mercury? Here’s How
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Look for a nice pairing of returning Mercury and the 1.7-day-old moon. Mercury will shine brightly at magnitude -0.8. The planet remains visible in the evening sky through the first day of summer. It’s brightest now and slowly fades. Stellarium
Suddenly, we’ve gone from one planet to three at dusk. Used to be only Mars. Then Jupiter joined the party (rising in the southeast in late twilight) and now Mercury makes it a trio. The closest planet to the sun is only about half again as big as our moon and like it, peppered with craters and airless. Mercury sometimes looks pinkish to the naked eye because it assumes the rosy color of dusk, but it’s a grayish place and hotter than blazes with an average daytime temperature of 800° F (427° C).
Mercury photographed by NASA’s orbiting MESSENGER space probe. The prominent rayed crater at center right is Debussy, named for French composer Claude Debussy. NASA
Look for the planet low in the northwestern sky for the next three weeks. Tonight’s appearance starts with a bang thanks to a stunning crescent moon only 6° (three fingers held together at arm’s length) to the left of the planet. Depending on ...

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