Mercury at inferior solar conjunction

Mon, 09 May 2016 at11:06 EDT(322 days ago)
15:06 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Inner Planets feed

Please wait
Loading 0/4
Click and drag to rotate
Mouse wheel to zoom in/out
Touch with mouse to dismiss
The sky at

Mercury will pass very close to the Sun in the sky as its orbit carries it between the Sun and Earth.

This occurs once in every synodic cycle of the planet (116 days), and marks the end of Mercury's apparition in the evening sky and its transition to become a morning object over the next few weeks.

At closest approach, Mercury will appear at a separation of only 0°05' from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare.

Mercury will also pass perigee – the time when it is closest to the Earth – at around the same time, since it will lie on exactly the same side of the Sun as the Earth in the Solar System. It will move to within a distance of 0.56 AU from the Earth, making it appear with its largest angular size. If it could be observed, it would measure 12.1 arcsec in diameter, whilst appearing completely unilluminated.

The exact position of Mercury at the moment it passes solar conjunction will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
Mercury 03h07m00s +17°26' Aries 12.1"
Sun 03h06m +17°31' Aries 31'40"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 09 May 2016
Sunrise: 05:44
Sunset: 20:00
from 03:54
until 21:49

3-day old moon
Age of Moon:
3 days

All times shown in EDT.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:45 12:51 19:57
Venus 05:29 12:23 19:17
Moon 08:39 15:49 22:59
Mars 21:13 02:01 06:44
Jupiter 14:12 20:43 03:17
Saturn 21:49 02:40 07:28


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.

Related news

09 May 2016, 11:06 EDTMercury at inferior solar conjunction
05 Jun 2016, 08:43 EDTMercury at greatest elongation west
11 Jun 2016, 06:01 EDTMercury at dichotomy
06 Jul 2016, 17:37 EDTMercury at greatest brightness

Image credit





Color scheme