Home > Ephemeris Program, Mercury, NASA, Observing > 05/04/2015 – Ephemeris – Last good evening appearance of Mercury for the year*

05/04/2015 – Ephemeris – Last good evening appearance of Mercury for the year*

May 4, 2015

Note:  This program was recorded before the MESSENGER spacecraft crashed into Mercury.

Ephemeris for Monday, May 4th.  Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 8:51.   The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 9:29 this evening.  Tomorrow the Sun will rise at 6:27.

The tiny and elusive planet Mercury will be making its final easily observable evening appearance of the year. For the next week or so.  Not that Mercury is ever easy to spot.  The MESSENGER spacecraft, which has been orbiting Mercury for the past four years is out of fuel and is descending to an impact any day now.  It may already have.  Mercury is the smallest planet only 50% larger than the diameter of our Moon.  There are two planetary satellites larger than it:  Jupiter’s Ganymede and Saturn’s Titan.  It is a whole lot larger than Pluto, which was demoted to dwarf planet 9 years ago.  Mercury is the second densest planet after the Earth.  And even Venus with its greenhouse effect is hotter.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

*For northern hemisphere viewers.


Mercury in the west

Mercury, Venus and the setting stars of winter at 10 p.m., May 4, 2015. Created using Stellarium.


Four views of Mercury with colors based on the mineralogy seen. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington.  Click on image to enlarge.

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