Mercury as Winter Evening Star

Panorama of the western sky with Mercury and the Moon as seen from Chicagoland 30 minutes after sunset from 2014 DEC 24 to JAN 27  - See article below.

Mercury - Elongations & Altitudes - 2014-15

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 will commence its winter evening apparition in the western sky around Christmas following its superior conjunction behind the Sun on 2014 DEC 07. This apparition will be a fairly good one for most observers unless well south of the tropics.

   Greatest Eastern Elongation of 18.9° will be reached on 2015 JAN 14. By the standard of 30 minutes after sunset, Mercury will attain its highest altitude of 10.0° for Chicagoland observers on JAN 16. It will appear gibbous in a telescope until dichotomy (50% illuminated like a Half Moon) on JAN 16 and afterward as a crescent. Apparent retrograde motion will commence on JAN 20. While decreasing in brightness, Mercury will fall to inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun on JAN 30.

   Mercury will appear near Venus on 2015 JAN 10. The Moon will appear to pass near Mercury on JAN 21.

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 - 2014-15

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

Mercury Illumination Phase - 2014-15

Graph of the percentage of Mercury’s apparent disk illuminated

Mercury Stellar Magnitude - 2014-15

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

Tran 08
12 Deals of Christmas begins!