The elusive little planet Mercury has commenced its apparition as an evening star
following its superior conjunction behind the Sun on 2013 MAY 11. This is its finest
apparition of the year for observers in the northern hemisphere, and equally good
for those in the southern hemisphere.
All dates given here are based on early evening North American Central Time. Mercury
will achieve dichotomy (50% illuminated like a Half Moon) on JUN 06. Before then
it will appear gibbous and afterward a crescent. By the standard of 30 minutes after
sunset, it will attain its highest altitude of 12.6° for Chicagoland observers on
JUN 07. Mercury will reach its greatest eastern elongation of 24.3° from the Sun
on JUN 12. Apparent retrograde motion will commence on JUN 25. While decreasing in
brightness, it will then fall to inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun on JUL
Mercury will appear to pass near other celestial bodies on the following dates:
Aldebaran on MAY 19, Venus on MAY 24, Jupiter and Elnath on MAY 26, the Moon on JUN
10, Pollux on JUN 18 and Venus again on JUN 19.