Sunday, December 02, 2012

See the Planet Mercury

Via @popastro.  Society for Popular Astronomy.

Mercury reaches greatest western elongation on the 4th of December when it will rise about two hours before the Sun, shining at magnitude -0.5. Try to catch it for a few days around that date before it draws back towards the Sun again.

Venus is closing in on the Sun again too but still shining brilliantly at around magnitude -4 which makes it impossible to miss if you have a clear sky.

Saturn rises well before dawn at 4am at the start of December and nearly two hours earlier than that by the month’s end. Though much fainter than Venus, it is very bright at around magnitude 0.6. The planet’s spectacular rings are well open now making it a fine sight through a small telescope for early risers.

Image credit: Mercury, Venus and Saturn pictured on 2 December by Paul Sutherland