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The moon, Mercury, and Venus

11 Jan 2015, 00:00 UTC
The moon, Mercury, and Venus
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This month is the best time in a long time to see Mercury. Finding the planet is easy with a little help from Venus and the moon. Continue reading →

¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week ending January 17, 2015

After their close call in our evening skies on January 10th and 11th, Venus and Mercury pull apart. Venus will be a presence in our evening skies until July. But Mercury is closer to the sun. So it orbits faster. By the end of this month, it will be in conjunction with the sun on its way to becoming a morning object.
So if you want to see Mercury, you have to be more diligent about taking advantage of the opportunity. Often, the planet is so close to the horizon, it’s hard to see between trees and buildings. Sometimes you have to find it through haze and distant clouds. And even when the horizon is clear, twilight and a partial view of the constellations in its direction make it hard to identify with certainty.
It helps when something else unmistakable is nearby. Some people have mistaken Venus for distant lights from buildings and aircraft. The planet is occasionally taken ...

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