Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Conjunctions feed
The Moon and Mercury will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 4°06' to the north of Mercury. The Moon will be 2 days old.
From Washington, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 13° above the horizon. They will become visible around 18:12 (MDT) as the dusk sky fades, 13° above your south-western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 1 hour and 32 minutes after the Sun at 19:25.
The Moon will be at mag -9.1, and Mercury at mag -0.6, both in the constellation Aquarius.
The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.
A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and Mercury around the time of closest approach is available here.
The positions of the two objects at the moment of conjunction will be as follows:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 20° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.
|The sky on 01 February 2014|
2 days old
All times shown in MST.
Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.
The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.
|31 Jan 2014||– Mercury at greatest elongation east|
|01 Feb 2014||– Mercury reaches highest point in evening sky|
|07 Mar 2014||– Mercury reaches highest point in morning sky|
|13 Mar 2014||– Mercury at greatest elongation west|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.