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Mercury Observation (August 22, 2009)

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#1 CarlosEH

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 09:52 PM

I was able to make a daytime observation of Mercury on August 22, 2009 (20:00 U.T.) using an 8-inch (20-cm) F/15 Maksutov-Cassegrain (286x). I was with a friend and suggested that we try hunting Mercury down in the daytime sky. There was a thin haze in the daytime sky so we thought that we may not be able to see it. We first centered his instrument (fitted with a solar filter) on the Sun then offset it by approximately two hours in right ascension (RA) and Mercury was in the field. Mercury was visible at a quarter phase (55%) and albedo features were noted over the illuminated disk.

My observation reminded me of the historic observations made by Antoniadi and Schiaparelli over the end of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. These classic astronomers made their observations of Mercury in the daytime as observing this planet is difficult in a darkened sky as it is never more than 28 degrees from the Sun. Schiaparelli and Antoniadi erroneously believed that the rotation period of Mercury was 88 days (instead of 58.6 days) and therefore locked in with it's revolution period. It was not until 1965 when the Arecibo radio telescope discovered the true rotation period.

A digital image produced in Photoshop CS3.

Links:
http://history.nasa....423/surface.htm
http://www.take27.co...MVMercury2.html
http://en.wikipedia....ercury_(planet)

BE CAREFUL TO NEVER OBSERVE MERCURY IN THE DAYTIME UNLESS YOUR INSTRUMENT HAS A SOLAR FILTER PLACED UPON IT UNTIL THE PLANET IS IN THE FIELD OF VIEW!

Carlos

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#2 Tommy5

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 11:40 PM

Wow great sketch, observing any albedo features on Mercury is very difficult even in in the daytime bravo.

#3 HellsKitchen

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 03:50 AM

Excellent sketch! Nice job catching the surface features.

#4 JayinUT

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 08:06 AM

Carlos,

Tremendous sketch of Mercury! :bow: :bow: :rainbow: :bow: :bow: Love the details. I'm envious . . . someday a solar filter.

#5 frank5817

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 09:05 AM

Carlos,

Wow! I mean WOW! That is one very fine Mercury sketch. It has been a while since I have observed Mercury in the day time but I have never attempted a sketch. You have captured the view perfectly. Wonderful! :bow: :rainbow: :bow: :cool:

Frank :)

#6 Jeff Young

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 01:30 PM

Very cool!

-- Jeff.

#7 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 05:40 AM

Carlos

WOW! That is one fantastic sketch. Have you considered sending a copy to ALPO?

Rich (RLTYS)

#8 CarlosEH

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 07:03 AM

Thank you all for your kind compliments on my Mercury observation. I have not observed Mercury in the daytime for some time now. It was fun hunting it down as it was a challenge. Observing albedo features over Mercury is not an easy feat. Clear and steady skies are a must to detect them. The best of luck in your own observations.

Rich- I always send my observations to ALPO. It is a good organization to learn about the observation of the Moon and planets.

Carlos

#9 rolandlinda3

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 09:52 AM

Carlos, I am super impressed at the sketch and the observation. I had not considered doing this. Really really fine observation!!

#10 Sol Robbins

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 11:51 AM

Carlos,

Very impressive!

Thanks,

#11 CarlosEH

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 05:29 PM

Roland and Sol,

Thank you both for your compliments on my Mercury observation. I had not seen Mercury in the daytime sky for some time now, but I wanted to try and search for the messenger after observing the Sun. The albedo features were easier to detect than expected. The thing is to be very careful when looking for Mercury in the daytime sky as one may accidentally sweep by the Sun unfiltered! The best of luck in your own observations.

Carlos

#12 kraterkid

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 08:48 PM

Fantastic sketch of Mercury, Carlos! :bow: :jump: :bow: A very difficult object, rendered magnificently. Thanks for the strong warnings about the use of a solar filter until you know you have acquired Mercury. How large angularly is Mercury in this phase? Beautiful sketch and excellent report! :waytogo:

#13 Jef De Wit

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 01:56 PM

A right choice as ASOD. Congratulations!

#14 Aldebaran

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 01:59 PM

Good work Carlos! It certainly isn't the easiest task in the world to see some details in Mercury! :D

#15 CarlosEH

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 11:43 PM

Jef, Juha, and Rich

Thank you for your kind compliments on my Mercury observation. It was fun hunting for Mercury in the daytime sky. I was impressed with the amount of detail visible over the planet. Detecting albedo features over Mercury is not an easy feat even under good seeing conditions. The best of luck in your own observations.

Carlos






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