Thursday, June 20, 2013

Farewell to Mercury...

Time to bid farewell to the innermost planet
Mercury in its spectacular evening twilight appearance.  It first appeared in the evening sky nearly a month ago, and thanks to the angle of the ecliptic with our northern hemisphere horizon (nearly vertical), it appeared very high in our twilight sky.  And of course, since its orbit is inside the Earth's, it goes through phases similar to the moon.  I had a great time showing the crescent phase of Mercury every night of the Grand Canyon Star Party a couple weeks ago.  But now, as the crescent grows even thinner, it is fading fast, as well as diving back towards the sun.  Tonight I caught it down the block, now below Venus, and likely only visible for another couple days, so look for it while you can.  By the end of the weekend, I suspect it will  be tough to spot.  And while looking for it below the brilliant Venus, also look for the constellation Gemini's brightest stars Pollux and Castor, just above and right of Venus.  Good luck in your search!

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