See Mercury and Venus in a darkish, pre-dawn sky from the Southern Hemisphere – Astronomy Now

April 10, 2019 - Comment

Mercury attains a really beneficial western elongation of just about 28 levels from the Solar on 11 April, which implies that the innermost planet is a morning object within the japanese sky earlier than dawn. Antipodean skywatchers are within the enviable place of at the moment having the ability to see each Mercury and conspicuous planetary sibling


Mercury attains a really beneficial western elongation of just about 28 levels from the Solar on 11 April, which implies that the innermost planet is a morning object within the japanese sky earlier than dawn. Antipodean skywatchers are within the enviable place of at the moment having the ability to see each Mercury and conspicuous planetary sibling Venus in a darkish sky earlier than the onset of astronomical twilight. For ten mornings beginning 11 April (Australasian dates), Venus and Mercury lie inside 5 levels of one another and visual in the identical subject of view of 10× and decrease magnification binoculars. Venus and Mercury are closest (four° 17′ aside) on 17 April. AN animation by Ade Ashford.It’s a preferred false impression that Mercury can solely be seen in twilight, both within the east shortly earlier than dawn when the innermost planet is near a western elongation (as now), or within the west quickly after sundown when the planet is close to an japanese elongation. But when the circumstances are good, it’s attainable to see Mercury in a really darkish sky earlier than the primary glimmer of astronomical daybreak, or after astronomical nightfall for japanese elongations.

On Thursday, 11 April at 19:37 UT (eight:37pm BST), Mercury attains a best elongation of 27.7 levels west of the Solar. Therefore the innermost planet is at the moment a morning object, seen within the east earlier than dawn. Nevertheless, for observers at northern temperate latitudes such because the UK, the shallow angle of the morning ecliptic (see this story) implies that Mercury presently rises simply 25 minutes earlier than the Solar in a sky too brilliant to view it.

To get the most effective views of Mercury at this beneficial elongation it’s good to stay within the Southern Hemisphere. For instance, an observer in Sydney, NSW presently sees the morning ecliptic at a steeply inclined angle to the japanese horizon, therefore extra of Mercury’s elongation from the Solar interprets into peak above the horizon.

As seen from the Southern Hemisphere, then, the innermost planet at the moment rises a lot sooner than the Solar in comparison with the UK – a lot in order that antipodean skywatchers are within the enviable state of affairs of having the ability to view Mercury in a darkish sky because it rises greater than two hours earlier than the Solar.

Discovering Mercury (and Venus) underneath southern skies
For the ten-day window beginning 11 April, Mercury steadily brightens from magnitude +zero.four to +zero.2. As seen from Australasia, Mercury lies about 15 levels (or about two-thirds of an outstretched hand at arm’s size) above the japanese horizon an hour earlier than dawn. Please seek the advice of our interactive international Almanac to find out exact timings to your location.

Not that there ought to be any doubt as to the id of Mercury as seen from the Southern Hemisphere over the subsequent ten days, but when any help it required then planetary sibling Venus acts as a really handy celestial signpost. Between 11 and 21 April, the space between Venus and Mercury is lower than 5 levels, so the pair are seen in the identical subject of view of 10× and decrease magnification binoculars.

Mercury crosses the constellation border of Aquarius into Pisces on 15 April, adopted by Venus on 17 April (Australian date). The planetary pair are closest on the Australasian morning of 17 April when they’re simply four° 17′ aside.



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