Mercury has commenced its apparition as a morning star following its inferior conjunction
between Earth and Sun on 2014 FEB 15. Since its greatest western elongation will
occur near its aphelion, this should be an ideal apparition for observers in the
tropics and to their south. However, it could be a somewhat poor apparition for observers
north of the tropics due to the sharp angle between the ecliptic and horizon at sunrise.
Mercury resumed apparent direct motion on FEB 27. By the standard of 30 minutes
before sunrise, it attained its highest altitude of 5.6° for Chicagoland observers
on MAR 05. It will appear in dichotomy (50% illuminated like a Half Moon) on MAR
11. Before then it will appear as a crescent and afterward gibbous. Greatest western
elongation of 27.6° will be reached on MAR 14. While increasing in brightness, it
will fall to superior conjunction behind the Sun on APR 26.
During this apparition Mercury will not appear near first magnitude stars or other
bright planets. The Moon will appear to pass near Mercury on MAR 29.
NOTE: Event dates are for North American Central Time at those moments nearest to
30 minutes before sunrise for Chicagoland.