Thursday, May 14, 2020


Hey Space Placers!

Right now May skies are bringing us another celestial treat to see - Mercury and Venus.

The two planets are in the western sky and can be seen about a half hour or so after the Sun sets.

Here is what the two planets look like in the sky. This was the view in the Coral Sea in 2016.
Venus (top) and Mercury
Credit: Greg Redfern
Venus is bright and thereby easy to spot with  just your eyes. Binoculars will make for a better view. Venus is getting lower and lower each night in May.

Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun is bright but always near the Sun. It will be rising higher each night in May.

Once you have found Venus look towards where the Sun set as Mercury will be along a slight diagonal to the right from Venus. This is where binoculars will really help you in your view.

Mercury and Venus 5-14-20, 8:30 PM EDT, 38 deg N latitude
Credit: Sky Safari 6 Pro 
Having a clear view of the western horizon is essential to spotting Mercury although it will be higher each night making it easier to spot.

With Mercury getting higher and Venus lower day by day it is well worth taking a peek each night to see solar system celestial mechanics at work.

The two planets will be very close to one another on May 21st so mark your calendar now.

Try using your camera to take a picture of the duo, especially when they are closest to one another. You can also capture their movement in the sky each day and have a nice slideshow. They are bright as is the sky so exposure time will be fast. You may be able to take pics without a tripod but if you zoom in on them it is best to have a tripod or brace yourself against a building or or other solid structure.

Enjoy this wonderful sky treat!!

Sky Guy in VA

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