Mercury still visible in evening sky this week

Feb 18

Written by:
2/18/2013 2:48 PM  RssIcon

Don't miss Mercury in the western evening sky this week - though a few days past greatest elongation, it is still above the horizon in the early part of the week.  Using the stars in the Great Square of Pegasus as a guide, point your way towards Mercury by using the stars Scheat and Markab, both of 2nd magnitude.  It may be easier to see Alpheratz and Algenib slightly above these to because the sky will be darker there first.  Each "side" of the Great Square of Pegasus is approximately 15 degrees.  So knowing how to measure distance in the sky (click that link to find out how) will assist you in finding the lower stars, then finding the right area at which to gaze to spot the elusive Mercury.

Use binoculars if you need to!  No shame is using a little optical aid to help, and the Sun is of no danger 30 to 45 minutes past sunset.  Give it a try!  Surprisingly few amateur astronomers have ever seen this planet.  

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.