The evening twilight is a little less lonely! While Venus departed for the morning skies a couple weeks ago, finally the innermost planet Mercury has popped above the western horizon to keep early evening observers company. It reaches greatest eastern elongation (18 degrees from the sun) on 31 January, so should be easily observable for the next 2 weeks during late twilight in the WSW. The photo shown here was taken with the 70-200 zoom at 70mm for just under a 1 second exposure at 6:30 local time, about 40 minutes after sunset, and is a very good approximation to the naked-eye view. Mercury is likely the least-observed of the naked-eye planets, so now is your chance to get out and look for a moderately bright star above and left of where the sun set. You should have a good view of the western horizon for best results. Good hunting!
FOR ADDED VIEWING PLEASURE -- click on the pictures in our daily posts to see an enlarged (and typically more detailed) picture!
Wow! You came all of the way from _______ to visit us?!!!
Credit where credit is due...
All photos are by Dean and Melinda Ketelsen - even the really cool astrophotography ones. Granted, some pics have come from the Internet...such as pictures of actors, or of Miss Tohono O'odham, etc. However, the astronomy pics, as well as the bird pics are all original - compliments of Dean, and sometimes Melinda too! Layout, editing, and continual tweaking (I think they call that "desk top publishing"), well, that would be the work of "I know I can make this better" Melinda!