Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Appulses feed
Mercury and M44 will make a close approach, passing within 0°22' of each other.
From Ashburn, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 10° above the horizon. They will become visible at around 21:09 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 10° above your western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 1 hour and 34 minutes after the Sun at 22:10.
Mercury will be at mag 0.0, and M44 at mag 3.1, both in the constellation Cancer.
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 Mercury and M44 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 25° from the Sun, which is in Gemini at this time of year.
|The sky on 04 July 2018|
21 days old
All times shown in EDT.
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.
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.