Mercury is quite hard to see in the night sky.
The tiny planet is orbiting so close to the Sun that the star’s bright light simply sweeps Mercury out of Earth’s field of vision. The only time we see a planet is when it is at its most elongated, or at its furthest point from the Sun, several times a year.
Thankfully, we’re fast approaching Mercury’s next greatest elongation (January 30), meaning the planet will be visible in the night sky for the next few weeks. And in Jan. On May 24, Mercury will reach its highest altitude between January and February. visibility period.
From New York, Mercury will appear 14 degrees above the horizon at sunrise on January 1st. 24, according to the sky observation website In-the-sky.org. (will open in a new tab). This is about the width of one and a half fists at arm’s length. This height is almost average for Mercury – its maximum height ranges from 11 to 19 degrees.
On the subject: Mercury: facts about the planet closest to the Sun
When Mercury reaches its highest altitude, it will shine quite brightly with a magnitude of around -0.2. But it will become brighter as it approaches its greatest aspect, although it will begin to appear lower in the sky.
You won’t have to look at Mercury for long either. Jan. On January 24, Mercury only rises at 5:36 AM EST (10:36 GMT)—about an hour and a half before sunrise. Eventually, sunlight will fall out of Mercury in the sky.
But this brevity is true for almost all observations of Mercury. The planet is always visible only at dusk, alternating morning and evening with each greatest elongation. The next Mercury will be on April 11 in the evening, so mark it in your calendars now.
To get a better view of Mercury, you will need a telescope. Check out our handy guide to the best telescopes for planetary observation if you’re looking for a new tool. If you want to take some pictures of the planet, check out our best astrophotography cameras and best astrophotography lenses.
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