Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Zero In on Mercury

Hey Space Placers!

For the next few days NOW is the time to see the elusive planet Mercury. It has been said that fewer than 1% of the planet's total population throughout time has ever seen AND recognized the "star" in the sky that is Mercury.

Join that elite 1% by doing the following - I did this last night to make sure of your success:
  • Find a clear view of the western horizon;
  • Start your search at 6:45 p.m. by finding brilliant Venus high in the western sky;
  • From Venus, draw an imaginary diagonal line to the lower right of the bright planet - use Jupiter above Venus to give you a good alignment for this diagonal;
  • Go about 3 fist widths down towards the horizon along this imaginary line;
  • Mercury WILL be visible as a fairly bright golden-yellow "star" - it is the brightest object in that location in the sky.

Evening twilight view

Right now we have Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, the Moon and at 8 p.m., Mars, all along the ecliptic - the imaginary line in the sky where all of the planets, Moon and the Sun are located as they move through the sky during the year.

Let me know if you find Mercury. You have about a week to see it as Mercury will start get lower in the sky and become harder to see.

Good hunting!

Sky Guy in VA

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