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Swimming up sky and up river

10 May 2021, 15:43 UTC
Swimming up sky and up river
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View larger. | Chart showing Mercury on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 45 minutes after sunset as seen from 40 degrees N. latitude. The arrows through Mercury, the sun, Venus, and Mars show their movements, against the starry background, over a span of 5 days. You can see that Mercury is eastering faster than the sun; it will slow toward May 17, the date of its greatest distance from the sun in our sky. Image via Guy Ottewell.
Guy Ottewell originally published these charts on May 10, 2021, at his blog. Reprinted here with permission.
Little Mercury, elusive in the sun’s glare, is becoming more and more findable in the dusk, as it climbs toward its easternmost elongation – its greatest angular distance from the sun in our sky – on May 17, 2021. That will be its highest evening appearance of the year, for our Northern Hemisphere.
This year, Mercury swings three and a half times into the evening sky and three times into the morning sky. The graph below summarizes Mercury’s three morning and three-and-a-half evening appearances of the year.
View larger. | This graph compares Mercury’s 3 morning and 3-and-a-half evening appearances of 2021, using gray for ...

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