Mercury Setting

April 7, 2010 — Leave a comment

Mercury, the innermost planet, is currently making one of its elusive appearances in the night sky. Being so close to the Sun, and fairly small, Mercury is only visible when our line of sight to it places it at its most easterly or most westerly point. The orbit of Mercury is not very wide and so this means that even at its greatest elongation from the Sun it is still only visible for a few days, chasing the Sun down to the horizon after sunset.

Tonight, after a heads-up tweet from astronomy writer Will Gater, I headed outside and took some snaps of Venus and Mercury which were setting quickly. The best result is shown below.

venus-and-mercury

I also took the opportunity to photograph Orion, hanging over Birmingham. Perhaps not the most glamorous setting for the hunter, but a nice picture none-the-less.

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