© NASA/JPL/MESSENGER

Mercury at superior solar conjunction

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 at16:38 EDT(64 days ago)
20:38 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

Mercury will pass very close to the Sun in the sky as its orbit carries it around the far side of the solar system from the Earth.

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

At closest approach, Mercury will appear at a separation of only 1°06' from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare.

Mercury will also pass apogee – the time when it is most distant from the Earth – at around the same time, since it will lie exactly opposite to the Earth in the Solar System. It will move to a distance of 1.41 AU from the Earth, making it appear small and very distant. If it could be observed, it would measure 4.8 arcsec in diameter, whilst appearing completely illuminated.

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

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
Mercury 12h58m50s -05°05' Virgo 4.8"
Sun 12h57m -06°06' Virgo 32'01"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 08 October 2017
Sunrise 07:11
Sunset 18:41
Twilight ends
20:09
Twilight begins
05:43

18-day old moon
Age of Moon
18 days

All times shown in EDT.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:10 12:57 18:44
Venus 05:18 11:35 17:52
Moon 21:11 03:11 09:54
Mars 05:09 11:28 17:46
Jupiter 08:21 13:50 19:19
Saturn 12:40 17:26 22:12

Warning

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.

Source

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

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

Image credit

© NASA/JPL/MESSENGER

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Latitude:
Longitude:
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39.04°N
77.49°W
EST

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