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Mercurys next good observation date

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#1 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:04 PM

Evening 2013 Feb 16 18.1°E -0.2

above will be a great time to try an view this elusive planet as an evening pinkish star with an unaided eye or with binocs just after sundown in the east.of course you will want to try a week ahead of that date an best time is about 15 deg away from the sun heading to that 18.1 deg on 2/16 as noted. but its much much better to catch it in broad daylite as high in the sky as possible and thru less atmosphere then near horizon at dusk.most of the good amatuers an astronomers did that an i do as well.markings can be seen in at least a good 6 " refractor an above an an 8" sct is the least i say for good readings. of course you can follow its changing phases from day to day, but remember its invisible 90%of the time in even a 10X finder unlike brilliant venus, cause of the suns glare an its tiny disk.so a polar aligned scope with setting circles or auto scope(nextstar or eqiuv) is a must.plus a good almanac for the positions of sun an planets.(Geocentric Ephemeris for the the Sun : 2013) great and free. once you think you got it all down,offsetting from the suns position on the date your looking is all you need to do.then in the lowest power ep(focused night before on a star or planet) use it to sweep very slowly in ra an dec the planet will pop into view.sky must be clear an no wispy clouds which will obscure the small disk,but once you find it you will be thrilled.then pump up the power an use the clock drive.this helps bigtime,but of course you dont need it.the phases change almost daily like our moon.till then CLEAR SKIES

#2 Centaur

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:58 PM

That's a really fine post, Robert. Earlier I created graphics and an article related to this apparition, but did not plan to mention them here until later this month. Here is a link to my Mercury webpage: www.CurtRenz.com/mercury

While this will be a highly favorable evening apparition for northern hemisphere observers, the one in May-June will be even better. The morning apparition in between will be great for those in the southern hemisphere, but almost worthless for us.

#3 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:38 PM

thx a bunch for that.ill read it soon.i moved to florida from nj 20 years ago,so that i could get better views an my ecliptic is about 10 degrees better which makes a nice difference especially venus now which is unfortunately almost out of site for northerners.also i get great weather here on the west coast of florida an thats a plus an much warmer too.but useful work can be gotten almost anywhere.mercury though harder to find an a challenge in daytime is all worth it.ive seen a few strange things observing it.i like the gibbous phase with mercury as many amatuers an astronomers rarely observe an get to see but in daylite the contrast is so much better as is venus.stay in touch an lets communinicate and again thx.Centaur

#4 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:47 PM

Centaur ,excellent infomation.luv the graphs an thank you for all that.most informative.and btw i use the technical analysis in the stock market myself,especially the 20,50 100 an most important the 200 day moving average.breaks below all of those an im out.lol

#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:08 PM

That's a really fine post, Robert. Earlier I created graphics and an article related to this apparition, but did not plan to mention them here until later this month. Here is a link to my Mercury webpage: www.CurtRenz.com/mercury

While this will be a highly favorable evening apparition for northern hemisphere observers, the one in May-June will be even better. The morning apparition in between will be great for those in the southern hemisphere, but almost worthless for us.


Curt:

Thanks once again for the alerting me to another apparition of Mercury. It's a great way to begin an evening.

Jon

#6 azure1961p

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:24 AM

Curt is in invaluable here and selfless about providing the graphs and models on any number of objects.

Mr. Free, I envy your seeing down there on Floridas west coast and I've pondered the same move for that reason among others but Im a northerner. Doesn't mean I love winter one bit but at 51 I've got so much history here and Im still discovering more of what's here to be had particularly on the water. At anyrate - thank you for the Venus and mercury updates!!! Two planets I have t seen telescopicaly in years - particularly Mercury. Last time I looked at Venus was a few summers ago... Mars at this point was 6" diameter and I got use to the tiny orb as I tried picking out the polar cap with my 70mm. Swinging over to Venus that same evening and it was its small version of the whole disc which normally is quite small at 10" but now seemed whopping huge as Id accustomed myself to the receding g Mars and its dwindling size. Good times - and a good apparition that summer.

Pete

#7 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:38 PM

pete,yes curt seems like a great guy an luv his input.i dont like the cold pete an im 65 so it was a great move for me but i did plenty of observing when i was in nj,in fact ive met roger tuthill many times an bought plenty of stuff from him in the seventies an eigthties.i still look at the night sky an mars closest approaches were just grand,an in fact i view it even in full daylite as well,but my thing is mercury an venus an especially venus which i can follow very close to the sun an see its phases, markings an ashen light an some strange lights near the cusps at times. venus can get as large as a half of dollar at 150x-200 when its close to us in the very thin crescent phase but needs daylite observation to see it best.thanks for your comments.an btw an 8 inch reflector thats nice,i use to have a cave 8" many years ago.parks also was a great scope.hope to hear from you again.

#8 azure1961p

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 06:08 PM

Yeah I spoke to Roger once over the phone - he had a high profile for a while. The Parks is great as Im sure your Cave was too. Tonight im braving gusty winds with a vid cam on the 8" hoping I can edit out the shakes and such. It's an uphill battle but its my night off and its clear so....

Pete

#9 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:22 AM

year roger was a nice guy but quite expensive with his add ons but he contributed much to astronomy an helped me along the way.i will try to find mercury around jan 31 about 9 deg from sun using a lite red filter to block out the blue sky it will be mag -1.3 but after that an in early feb say feb 2-5 should be real good at -1.1 mag.nice chatting with you.let me know if you pick it up.that celestron 150mmm should have nice views.but an 8"is better.one must adjust a relax to catch mercury in daylite in main tube,it can be elusive an be there but like i said one has to get use to a pale dot at low power.

I LOVE THE STARS TO DEARLY TO FEAR THE NIGHT.TYCHO BRAHE

#10 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:05 PM

just want to add that,you can pick up mercury as early as jan 31st to feb 5 just over 10 deg away but it will be a challenge as its invisible in any finder.sweep in lowest power ep 40mm -32mm an go slow as you can taking the whole area an small moves( drive corrector helps greatly or paddle control in ra an dec.most of the time it just pops in as eye get adjusted to the blue.very light red filter only might help.sky must be blue an no whitish cast.otherwise feb 10 will be better an onwards. remember to focus your ep the night before on jupiter or a star so that you will see mercury the next day with it. :cool:

#11 Centaur

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:05 AM


Curt:

Thanks once again for the alerting me to another apparition of Mercury. It's a great way to begin an evening.

Jon


You're welcome, Jon, but we must give credit to Robert for providing the heads-up this time, unless you first went to my website. I'm glad that you two and Pete are having fun with this.

This is the coldest time of the year for Chicagland. It's been a decent winter so far with moderate temperatures and almost no snow. But we've entered a patch of slightly below zero temperatures for a few days. So I'm not doing much observing. In 1954 my family moved to the west coast of Florida. My mother quickly became homesick and we returned to Chicago. It might have been nice if we had stayed. In any event, at age 67 I've essentially seen it all astronomically. But I still enjoy anticipating nature's repetitive cycles.

#12 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:28 PM

about 5 more days an merc should be visble but still to near the sun for most an so be careful an take the necessary precautions. with an equatorial mount its much safer.clear skies.cant wait. try using a lite red filter 23a to see it better against a blue sky.

#13 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:05 PM

many amatuers miss a great oppurtunity to see this somewhat elusive planet,yet there is at times much to see.with a good mount an at least a 4-5 inch refractor an 8" or more reflector lots can be seen.changing phases over a relatively short period.some surface markings especially in the gibbous phase, like the moon, many never get to see but in daylite one can, an you get much better contrast an less atmosphere when viewed high overhead. trick is to find it, an it cannot be seen in daylite in a finder unless its at greatest elongation from the sun/feb 15-16 maybe.So polar align or pc scopes is essential.an the sun can be very useful knowing its position an then offsetting to mercs position.its not too hard once you see it,then it gets much easier.an it will be about 2 weeks for most.

#14 John Boudreau

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:43 AM

In addition to the observing tips already mentioned, daylight observations of Mercury (and Venus) are best done if the observer can also block the Sun with either a tree, portable umbrella or such shade, or perhaps even a building. If my local trees are not blocking the Sun, I resort to a moveable sunshade made out of aluminized Mylar that can be attached to the walls of my roll-off roof observatory. I should mention that if one sets up too close to a building, there may be problems with thermals from the building itself so I'd use the shade of a building only as a last resort.

Point is, a scope out in direct sunlight will have heat currents created on the tube and lens shade (dew cap) that will negatively effect the view. Also, a large enough source of shade will also put the immediate surrounds of the scope in shadow and thus reduce close-by thermal problems. It's also best to be set up on a grassy surface. My observatory is surrounded by a nice lawn and it's floor is simply wood--- no carpeting to retain heat, and it's not built on a concrete slab which can also cause thermal problems.

And if a shade is used--- don't rely on it to keep you safe from accidently pointing the scope the Sun. Always be aware of the Sun's position and maintain safe observing practices!

#15 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:43 AM

john,i could not agree more.i use a light carboard black shield,painted white,an im in florida so i get a 10deg higher ecliptic which helps a lot an not to mention very clear skies.yes an your right about those thermal currents,i got venus in scope now an i see those at times rising up.im on grass so it helps.been looking at merc an venus in daylite since that seventies.thx for the info .btw though i find a c-11 for mercury an venus gets more of those abberations thats why i stick with a c-8.let me know yoir findings an stay in touch john.

#16 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:14 PM

mercury now 7deg east of the sun an moving out rapidly.still to close to the sun to even see at all in scope..a few more days ill try.its now moving to be visible at sundown in a week or so.look for it just after sundown,a pinkisk star preety bright low in the west without a telescope.feb 10 an on.

#17 Centaur

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:24 PM

mercury now 7deg east of the sun an moving out rapidly.still to close to the sun to even see at all in scope..a few more days ill try.its now moving to be visible at sundown in a week or so.look for it just after sundown,a pinkisk star preety bright low in the west without a telescope.feb 10 an on.


Indeed, Robert, it's peeking its head over the western horizon after sunset. Unlike Venus, Mercury is at its most brilliant during the days near its superior conjunction.

Beginning this evening it appears on my diagram of the western sky at 30 minutes after sunset as seen from Chicagoland. That chart depicts its altitude through March 1. It can be seen at www.CurtRenz.com/mercury

#18 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:18 AM

that chart is excellent an gives one the info to get a better understanding of its position,awesome centaur,gonna try again this am here in crystal blue skies in fla,usa at 10.20 est 3.20 ut.temp 67% degrees.

#19 Centaur

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:06 AM

that chart is excellent an gives one the info to get a better understanding of its position,awesome centaur,gonna try again this am here in crystal blue skies in fla,usa at 10.20 est 3.20 ut.temp 67% degrees.


Glad you're appreciative, Robert. Believe it or not, the temperature here in Chicago is expected to reach 66° F early this evening. Who says there is no such thing as global warming?

#20 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

well,im very skeptical about global warming,however the sahara dessert has been growing at about 1/4 of an inch per year since like the 80ties or nineties but id have to check on that cause its been years since i read that in scientific american.

#21 Centaur

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:45 AM

well,im very skeptical about global warming,however the sahara dessert has been growing at about 1/4 of an inch per year since like the 80ties or nineties but id have to check on that cause its been years since i read that in scientific american.


My friend Tom Skilling, long-time popular weatherman on WGN-TV here in Chicago, used to be skeptical of anthropogenic global warming. Then his friend Don Wuebbles, professor of atmospheric physics at the University of Illinois, convinced him otherwise.

Tom gave me this link to a 19-minute video of one of Don’s lectures on the subject: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=c78JmupgjAo

I’d advise ignoring supposedly scientific information from faux "news" outlets that are actually propagandists for the oil industry.

#22 John Boudreau

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:28 PM

john,i could not agree more.i use a light carboard black shield,painted white,an im in florida so i get a 10deg higher ecliptic which helps a lot an not to mention very clear skies.yes an your right about those thermal currents,i got venus in scope now an i see those at times rising up.im on grass so it helps.been looking at merc an venus in daylite since that seventies.thx for the info .btw though i find a c-11 for mercury an venus gets more of those abberations thats why i stick with a c-8.let me know yoir findings an stay in touch john.


Hi Robert,

A few years ago I installed an aluminum tube with large cutouts on my C11. To cool it, I simply use a pedestal fan aimed towards the primary for a few minutes--- seldom longer than 15 minutes. After that if there are still any boundary layer problems with the primary I set the fan a foot or so away from the tube, pointing away to draw air away from the tube. Once the scope is working at or near ambient temperature, I install a Velcro-secured tube cover made of Tyvek.

Usually morning observations are the easiest to set up for, as since the scope is in an observatory it's already near ambient conditions. But before the tube modification I really had to plan hours ahead for afternoon observations--- I used to remove the C11 from the observatory and for a few hours leave it in an air conditioned room set at the predicted afternoon temperatures. That at least got it close, and it would stabilize fairly quickly if kept shaded.

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#23 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:07 PM

that is a nice setup,and a beautiful scope and areal great idea an you avoid most of the heat currents hmm interesting,you must get great images of the galaxies an nebulae. years ago in the eighties an a fire captain in nj,i had a house that had an attic an a dormer.a carpenter friend an i cut a square hole right out of the top of the dormer an made a frame out of 2x4's an put metal cellar doors over it an we built a platform with ladder from attic floor to top an i had a nice observatory.i observed mercury an venus plus all else from up there.i just went up the ladder an opened the doors an set up the scope .it was wonderful but weather was nothing like it is down here in florida.take care an wait to hear or see your reports.thx for sharing that fantastic scope.

#24 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:09 PM

well again i hear reports on both sides an i lean away from global warming until i see real results an credibility.

#25 Rick Woods

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:12 PM

Images of galaxies, heck!
Look at that freaking amazing animation of Mercury in John's avatar. He is The Man for Mercury imaging.






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