One of the joys of astronomy is getting to see the universe with your own eyes. Most amateur astronomers know the magnificent feeling of looking at the moon through a telescope, picturing it drifting through empty space as it revolves around the Earth. After looking at the rocky, pockmarked surface of the moon, they want to cast their gaze out towards the planets of our solar system.
Mars and Venus are Earth’s most immediate neighbors, but why not start your observations with the planet that’s closest to the sun? Mercury can be a challenging planet to catch sight of because it hides behind the sun for most of the year. However, with the right knowledge, even a beginner astronomer can spot the smallest planet in the solar system. Read on for everything you need to know.
When Is Mercury Visible?
Some planets, like Uranus, are difficult to see through a telescope because they shine so dimly in the sky. That’s not the case with Mercury. At its brightest, Mercury shines at a magnitude of -1.9. That means Mercury is sometimes brighter than the brightest star in the sky, Sirius.
The challenge with spotting Mercury through a telescope is its ...