Mercury as March Evening Star

Panorama of the western sky with Mercury and the Moon as seen from Chicago 30 minutes after sunset from 2018 FEB 25 to MAR 28 - See article below.

Mercury - Elongations & Altitudes - 2018

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

Mercury 02 Mercury 03 Mercury 04


Elusive Mercury is presenting its apparition in the early evening western sky following its superior conjunction behind the Sun on 2018 FEB 17. Due to the celestial geometry around sunset near the time of the Vernal Equinox, this should be an excellent apparition except for observers south of the tropics.

   Through a telescope on MAR 13 Mercury appeared in dichotomy, i.e. 50% illuminated like a Half Moon. Prior to that it appeared gibbous and afterward as a crescent. By the standard of 30 minutes after sunset for Chicago, Mercury reached its highest altitude of 11.6° on MAR 15. On that same date it attained its Greatest Eastern Elongation of 18.4°. Mercury will begin apparent retrograde motion in right ascension on MAR 22. While decreasing in brilliance, it will fall to inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun on APR 01.

   Mercury will appear near Venus on 2018 MAR 18.

   The Moon will appear near Mercury on 2018 MAR 18 with no occultation.

NOTE: Event dates in this article are for North American Central Time at those moments nearest to 30 after sunset for Chicago.

Mercury Angular Diameter - 2018

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

Mercury Illumination Phase - 2018

Graph of the percentage of Mercury’s apparent disk illuminated

Mercury Stellar Magnitude - 2018

Graph of the brightness of Mercury measured in stellar magnitude

Mercury 05


© Curt Renz

Mercury 01

Mercury Transits Sun - 2019 NOV 11

Previews of the apparent path of Mercury across the Sun Geocentric view and as seen from various cities

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