Mercury

Mercury crawls out of its hiding place

Mercury is difficult to observe due to the bright light of the sun. But if you still want to see it, the circumstances are optimal at the moment.

Mercury is often difficult to see from the earth, because it is hidden behind the sun or is beamed through it. But not now.

© NASA

Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system and is closest to the sun.

These two factors make the planet very difficult to observe.

He often stands behind the sun, making it invisible from the earth. And when Mercury stands before the sun, it disappears in the powerful light of its star.

Mercury can now be seen most clearly

You can therefore best see the small rock planet if it is farthest from the sun from the perspective of the earth. He then allegedly reaches the greatest elongation - the greatest angle with the sun seen from the earth.

The opportunity to observe Mercury presents itself on the early morning of August 26.

Mercury is farthest from the sun when viewed from the earth, and therefore you can see the planet.

See Mercury more often in 2018

Mercury revolves around the sun in 88 days. This means that the planet reaches the largest elongation several times a year.

Mercury and Venus are the only planets that you can best see during the greatest elongation. That is because they are closer to the sun than the earth.

This is how you proceed

  • You can see Mercury on August 26 one and a half hour before sunrise see in the twilight. But as soon as the sun rises, Mercury is beamed up.

  • Mercury is seen from the earth at its furthest from the sun. But it stays close by, and is just like the sun northeast direction, shortly before the sun rises.

  • Mercury is very clear even at dusk. With binoculars you can see that the planet has phases, just like the moon. The phase is now half, that is, you see half of Mercury's day side and half of its night side.

Facts about Mercury:

  • Mercury and Venus are the only planets in the solar system no moons. All others have at least one, and Jupiter, which has the most moons, has no fewer than 79.

  • The temperature on Mercury can fluctuate between -173 ° C at night and 427 ° C during the day. The planet has virtually no atmosphere that can block heat and cold.

  • Mercury runs with 180,000 km / h around the sun. This makes it the fastest planet in the solar system.

Video: Mercury: Crash Course Astronomy #13 (April 2020).

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