For those of you who don’t look at the astronomical picture of the day, the next week or so will be the best opportunity this year for us in the northern hemisphere (which I think is basically everyone who reads this apart from ) to try and see the planet Mercury.

I’ve never seen Mercury myself. I once tracked down Uranus with a pair of binoculars, and have spotted the odd asteroid back in the days when I was serious about astronomy. But my office looks west, and I’m usually still here half an hour after sunset (like, er, about now), so I’ve set my diary to remind me to look out the window at 1900 every evening for the next week. It’s too cloudy this evening but I expect that one of these days it will be clear enough.

If you want to work out when sunset is, you can do it here (having first got your latitude and longitude here). About 30-40 minutes after sunset is probably the best time. There won’t be anything else visible near Mercury (except for the Moon, especially on the 11th and less so on the 12th). Those of you further west than me still have time to plan to try it this evening.

Copernicus supposedly never saw Mercury either.

One thought on “Planet-spotting

  1. I’ve always thought that never was there such a list of rhetorical questions to which the answer was “I’m afraid not.”

    A friend of mine who is an archaeologist was on a dig in Haifa and found a crusader toe. He started singing this to a group of bemused Israelis and Americans who had never heard it.

Comments are closed.