© NASA/JPL/MESSENGER

Mercury at superior solar conjunction

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Inner Planets feed

Objects: Mercury
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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 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 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 1.44 AU from the Earth, making it appear small and very distant. If it could be observed, it would measure 4.7 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 14h54m00s 16°31'S Libra 4.7"
Sun 14h53m -16°36' Libra 32'17"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 08 November 2022
Sunrise
06:30
Sunset
16:42
Twilight ends
18:18
Twilight begins
04:58

14-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

99%

14 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:34 11:38 16:41
Venus 06:53 11:53 16:53
Moon 16:49 --:-- 06:39
Mars 18:47 02:23 09:59
Jupiter 14:42 20:38 02:35
Saturn 13:05 18:08 23:12
All times shown in EST.

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 DE430 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

08 Oct 2022  –  Mercury at greatest elongation west
21 Dec 2022  –  Mercury at greatest elongation east
24 Dec 2022  –  Mercury at highest altitude in evening sky
23 Jan 2023  –  Mercury at highest altitude in morning sky

Image credit

© NASA/JPL/MESSENGER

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41.14°N
73.26°W
EDT

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