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Mercury mar-april update

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#1 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:50 AM




Mercury reaches its greatest elongation on the 31st, when it lies 27.8° west of the Sun. Early risers may catch a brief view of the planet in the pre-dawn sky, about 30 minutes before sunrise and only 5° above the eastern horizon. Binoculars could prove useful for spotting it against the bright twilight.
Of the famous five naked-eye planets, Mercury can sometimes be the second brightest, outshining all stars, and can
often be the planet closest to Earth – and yet it has been seen by remarkably few people! This is because Mercury, the innermost planet of the solar system, can never depart more than 28° from the Sun as seen from our point of view.
however,it can always be picked up earlier in daylite with at least an 8"scope cause of its faintness at that time.it wont be until april 10th or so to see any phase changes and rare markings on its surface. of course it will be hard for northern observers to see it in the early morning low in the east before sunrise around april ist but again can be picked up much better high in the sky with much better contrast in broad daylite.an orange 21 filter helps bigtime and an equatorial mount with setting circles an clock drive are a must but its really not hard at all to spot it.

#2 Centaur

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:23 PM

That's a marvelous Mercury commentary, Robert. Thank you.

I did make a preview graphic for the current morning apparition: www.CurtRenz.com/mercury . Usually I provide a heads-up thread here, but didn't bother this time because it's a rather poor apparition for observers north of the tropics. However, the May-June evening apparition will be the best one of 2013 for us northerners.

#3 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:26 PM

curt,you input is invaluable an you do a great service to this forum.thx for the kind words an as always clear skies.

#4 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 02:59 PM

MERCURY now at 16 degrees west of sun, an will be a morning star very soon but cannot be seen with naked eye or telescope until later this month, cause its phase illumination(brightness)is small.conversely as it moves away from earth it size decreases but its illumination increases an therefore its magnitude brightens fast.right now its mag is 2.0 an not till it reaches about 1.0 or 0.9 or 0.8 can it be picked up in at least an 8" scope. its impossible to see a very thin crescent unless one views it in daylite just after its elongations,an that for maybe 1-4 days thats all.venus is much more granduer, an now is like a 1/4" ball at about 300x an grows to the size of a half dollar at crescent phase, which is an amazing site too see in daylite.

#5 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 09:09 AM

MERCURY already 23 degrees away from the SUN but its in a very thin cresent phase, an almost impossible to view in daylite or unaided eye because it is very dim but in 5-7 days still hope to catch it in thin phase as it rapidly brightens and its phase illumination increases an the disk shrinks in size...at around the end of month it will be visible for northern observers very low in the east in the morning sky but a very unfavorable view. ill try to catch the crescent phase in daylite in next few days but the weather in so florida has not been co-operating next 5 days forecast is for clouds an rain here..im hoping for a break. magnitude sits at +1.2 needs to be at least .09 for daylite observations. ill update if an when i can.

#6 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:13 PM

i would add that my comments above are for an 8' sct but with bigger scopes im sure its possible to view mercury at lesser magnitudes.there have been a few astronomers that actually said they saw mercury in new moon mode.i myself have never saw that an its hard to believe.right now mercury is a sliver according to the stats but at 1.2 mag that is almost invisible.il try to spot it at .09 but thats extremely difficult too but i have saw it at .09 under super conditions.maybe a few that have seen it can comment.however i live 10 degrees nearer the equator so i have an advantage over northern observers.

#7 ROBERT FREE

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 11:09 AM

MERCURY 23 degrees away from sun but at mag 1.0 an in its crescent phase almost impossible to pick up in almost any scope,yet in about 3 days it should be spotted in daylite still a crescent an about 0.7 magnitude which is still dim but by the 31 it will be at 0.2 ok for daylite but not naked eye as it will be very low for northern observers.an 0.2 is still not that bright.






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