Mercury is approaching greatest western elongation, and I have perfect sight to the East from my balcony, almost 0° to zenith.
First try a few days ago: I don't know exactly where to look (where's 120°??), I sweep the morning sky in a general "East/SouthEast" direction and find nothing.
This morning I get there armed to my teeth. I have noted down position relative to Altair and Vega, and relative to Saturn and Jupiter. I also have exact reference points around my balcony (120° is that antenna). 6.20, up dressed and out. Altair and Vega are still bright. Hoo-raaah!
Naked eye, I see my reference stars but can't find the planets. They're already engulfed in the glare of dawn. Binos help though: I spot one planet already relatively high. I move a few degrees down and to the East: there's another one, brighter, just above the buildings. I assume the first one is Saturn, and the brighter one is Mercury.
I point my scope but the OTA sits lower than my binos while I am standing – there's a chimney top obstructing the view. I wait a couple of minutes for it to clear it and THERE IT IS! A perfectly round disk shining against coming dawn. I go to higher power… wonderful. Hey, I got Mercury! I faintly see bands. Wait a second… bands? A round disk? It's Jupiter!! OK, not to worry, I'll enjoy Jupiter for a while – I've never seen it until now! – and go looking for Mercury in a few minutes.
Wrong: when I finally decide to poke around a few degrees up and west, I can't find anything. Sun is not up yet, but the sky is likely too clear already. On one of my attempts, I leave Jupiter, find nothing, and when I go back it's nowhere to be found. Session over.
OK, I missed my main goal and make a mental note of my mistakes: I should have centered my sights on the first planet, or gone looking for Mercury immediately on realizing that I had Jupiter in the eyepiece. Good experience.
But I am elated: my first good sight of a planet (Jupiter no less), I loved it, and had Mercury in my binoculars too albeit briefly. I'm confident that from now to greater elongation I'll get Mercury. If I'm lucky with the weather, I'll even get both it and Jupiter in the eyepiece at the same time. Conjunction is expected for the 4th and 5th.
… now where's that coffee…
Edited by radiofm74, 01 March 2021 - 07:17 AM.