Mercury as Aug-Sep Evening Star

Panorama of the western sky with Mercury and the Moon as seen from Chicagoland 30 minutes after sunset from 2014 AUG 18 to OCT 03 - See article below.

Mercury - Elongations & Altitudes - 2014

The planet’s elongations from the Sun and altitudes above the horizon as viewed from latitude N 42°

Mercury 01 Mercury 07 Mercury 06 Mercury 08


Mercury is in its evening apparition following its superior conjunction behind the Sun on 2014 AUG 08. This apparition could be nearly impossible to observe after sunset from north of the tropics. That’s due to the sharp angle at sunset between the horizon and the ecliptic near the time of the autumnal equinox. A far better morning apparition will commence in late October.

   By the standard of 30 minutes after sunset, Mercury attained its highest altitude of 2.7° for Chicagoland observers on SEP 11. Greatest Eastern Elongation of 26.4° will be reached on SEP 21. Mercury will be observed in dichotomy (50% illuminated like a Half Moon) on SEP 25. Before then it will appear gibbous and afterward as a crescent. Apparent retrograde motion will commence on OCT 04. While decreasing in brightness, it will fall to inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun on OCT 16.

   Mercury will appear near Spica on SEP 20. The Moon will appear to pass near Mercury on SEP 26.

NOTE: Event dates are for North American Central Time at those moments nearest to 30 minutes after sunset for Chicagoland.

© Curt Renz

Mercury Angular Diameter - 2014

Graph of the apparent angular diameter of Mercury measured in arcseconds  -  Distance in AU = 6.68 / angular diameter

Mercury Illumination Phase - 2014

Graph of the percentage of Mercury’s apparent disk illuminated

Mercury Stellar Magnitude - 2014

Graph of the brightness of Mercury measured in stellar magnitude

Mercury 04

Transit of Mercury - 2016 MAY 09

Preview of the apparent path of Mercury across the Sun in horizontal (alt-az) coordinates as viewed from Chicago on 2016 MAY 09

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Tran 08

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