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Mercury in the evening July 19, 2010

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro.
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If it happens to be clear where you are (which means you probably aren’t in SE Michigan), look to the west just after sunset.  A pair of binoculars might help. If you spot a little dot really low between W and WNW half an hour after sunset, congratulate yourself, you just found Mercury! That is of course assuming it isn’t actually a plain or some other object that will move on in a few minutes.

This is one of Mercury’s longest apparitions, visible from mid July until early August.  Unfortunately, it’s also one on the lowest.  By the time is is dark enough to spot, chances are it will only be 3 or 4 degrees off the horizon.

Mercury converges with Regulus on July 26, then with a very young Moon on August 11.  On July 30, the distance between Venus and Mercury is at its smallest.  Saturn and Mars also converge on the same area of the sky, so that’s a really good evening for planet watching.

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