Mercury Is Far Away Superior

view-from-earth-mercury

   Monday December 8th the inner most planet, Mercury, will be on the opposite side of the Sun from the Earth at what is called superior conjunction. That will happen at 10 UT (4 am CST). Coincidently at 21 UT (3 pm CST) Mercury reaches aphelion, its most distant point from the Sun for this orbit. It will be 0.4667 AU from the Sun and 1.451 AU from the Earth.

   Mercury’s orbit takes it eastward so in a couple of weeks you can start watching for Mercury to reappear to the left or east of the Sun, setting after the Sun sets.

   
   
   
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Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Mercury at Inferior Conjunction

orbital-positions   Thursday 19 June at 23 UT (6 pm CDT) the innermost planet Mercury reaches inferior conjunction. As the banner graphic at the top of the page shows, inferior conjunction of Mercury places Mercury between the Earth and the Sun – much like the position of the Moon at new phase. The graphic to the right shows the relative to the Earth and Sun position names for both inner planets and outer planets.

   The short video below, taken by the Mars Curiosity Rover, shows a transit of the Sun by Mercury as seen from the surface of Mars.

   
   
   
Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Moon Snuggles Up To Saturn

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   The planet Saturn will rise on Saturday morning, tomorrow, within about 1 degree from the just past last quarter Moon – now a waxing crescent Moon. The banner graphic at the top of the page is an exaggerated view of the two but it is also showing how close the Moon passes by Saturn. Closest is at 8 am CST – 14 UT when the two will be separated by about 0.5 degrees.
saturn-moon9am   Daytime Saturn Sighting? Since the Moon will be so close to Saturn it is possible that you could do a daytime sighting of the planet. This simulated view through 7×50 binoculars is set for 9 am CST – 14 UT. If my skies are clear I will be outdoors taking pictures. If successful I’ll post a follow-up blog.pictures from after Saturn rise and as long as I am
   
   
   
Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

October Apogee Moon

october-apogee   Our Moon orbits around the Sun with the Earth and from our perspective on the Earth the Moon appears to circle Earth each month. The Moon also has a slightly elliptical-shaped orbit allowing for the Moon to have a furthest (apogee) and closest (perigee) distance from the Earth each month.

25 October - 14 UT (9 am CDT)

25 October – 14 UT (9 am CDT)

   This month the 20.9 days old waxing crescent Moon reaches perigee today, 25 October at 14 UT (9 am CDT), and will more or less be at a distance of 31.7 Earth diameters (403,945km or 227,708 miles).

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

   
   
   
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.