Track down post-sunset Mercury – Astronomy Now

Mercury places in an honest look within the night sky. That is the view to the -west quickly after sundown on 24 January, when it’s at biggest japanese elongation from the Solar. AN Graphic by Greg Smye-Rumsby.

Mercury is seen this night quickly after sundown, having reached biggest elongation east (18.6 levels) from the Solar. Though this isn’t the innermost planet’s most beneficial night apparition throughout 2021 – we’ll have to attend till Might for that – the planet places on fairly a very good displaying within the south-western sky. (Mercury’s finest morning apparition of the 12 months for the UK takes place in October.) Mercury by no means strays too removed from the Solar’s area, so there’s a very good sense of accomplishment when you’ll be able to monitor it down.

As at each beneficial night apparition of Mercury, you’ll want to trace down an observing website with a fairly unobstructed view in direction of the south-west. Mercury may be at an altitude of round 13 levels above the horizon at sundown from London (which happens at about 4.35pm GMT), and shines at a comparatively vivid magnitude –0.5. Keep in mind, don’t sweep the sundown horizon (or certainly at dawn) with binoculars or a telescope till you might be completely certain that the Solar has set out of your location.

Mercury as seen on the night of seven April 2010. This section of round 45 per cent carefully mimics that which can be on present. Sketch: Peter Grego.

In a clear sky you must spot Mercury; in case you can view proper right down to the horizon, don’t mistake Mercury for brighter Jupiter, which 5 levels under. A pair of 10×50 binoculars ought to simply snare Mercury, although it seems merely as an off-white star. If you’ll be able to view the planet via a telescope, then it can present a 52.7 per cent-illuminated disc, just like at simply previous first quarter. Mercury stays on present for the remainder of the month, fading to magnitude +1.Zero by the tip of January, because it looses a few levels in altitude for a similar diploma of twilight.

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