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Looking for the bright jewel of Mercury in the evening sky | Science



Starwatch Chart 11/1/21 Moon and Mercury

For sky observers in the northern hemisphere, 2021

provides an opportunity to capture the bright jewel of Mercury in the night sky.

Please start searching on January 15, when the thin crescent of the new moon will point you in the right direction. The moon will be a dazzling silver bar with only 7.4% of its surface exposed to sunlight. If you didn’t see Mercury low to the west that night, please return on the following sunset night. Every night, Mercury will rise higher in the sky and become easier to spot, but the trade-off is that it will become darker and darker as it climbs into the sky.

This figure shows a view looking southwest at 1700 GMT on January 15. Mercury will reach its maximum elongation under the sun, so it reaches its highest altitude in the evening sky from January 23rd to 24th, but capturing it early in the phantom allows you to track its movement day and night. Starting from Sydney, Australia, the earth will be almost completely dazzled by the sun. However, the waxy shape of the crescent moon will remain pleasant.


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