Mercury will soon commence its apparition as an evening star following its superior
conjunction behind the Sun on 2014 APR 25. This will be the finest Mercury apparition
of the year for observers north of the tropics, due to the fairly wide angle between
the ecliptic and horizon at sunset.
Mercury will appear in dichotomy (50% illuminated like a Half Moon) on MAY 19.
Before then it will appear gibbous and afterward as a crescent. By the standard of
30 minutes after sunset, it will attain its highest altitude of 13.6° for Chicagoland
observers on MAY 22. Greatest eastern elongation of 22.7° will be reached on MAY
24. Mercury will begin apparent retrograde motion on JUN 06. While decreasing in
brightness, it will fall to inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun on JUN 19.
Mercury will not appear near other bright planets during this apparition. However,
it will appear near prominent stars on these dates: Alcyone (Pleiades) MAY 07, Aldebaran
MAY 12 and Elnath May 21. The Moon will appear to pass near Mercury on MAY 30.
NOTE: Event dates are for North American Central Time at those moments nearest to
30 minutes after sunset for Chicagoland.