Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Appulses feed
The Moon and Mercury will make a close approach, passing within 0°01' of each other. The Moon will be 28 days old.
From Ashburn, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 11° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 05:35 (EST) – 1 hour and 20 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 11° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 06:38.
The Moon will be at mag -8.4, and Mercury at mag -1.0, both in the constellation Leo.
The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also 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 closest approach 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 15° from the Sun, which is in Virgo at this time of year.
|The sky on 18 September 2017|
28 days old
All times shown in EDT.
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.
|12 Sep 2017, 05:11 EDT||– Mercury at greatest elongation west|
|23 Nov 2017, 21:22 EST||– Mercury at greatest elongation east|
|01 Jan 2018, 19:40 EST||– Mercury at greatest elongation west|
|15 Mar 2018, 06:18 EDT||– Mercury at greatest elongation east|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.