12/28/2015 – Ephemeris – Mercury is at its greatest penetration into the evening tonight
Ephemeris for Monday, December 28th. The Sun will rise at 8:19. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:09. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 8:57 this evening.
Later this evening the tiny planet Mercury will appear at its greatest separation from the Sun. This is a little early to be viewing Mercury in the evening. Generally the best time to be able to view Mercury, when it’s east of the Sun, in the evening is from late winter into spring. Mercury’s event is called its greatest eastern elongation from the Sun. The sky may be dark enough in the west to start looking for Mercury 20 minutes after sunset. That’s about 5:30 when Mercury will be 9 degrees above the true horizon and due southwest. For the next half hour Mercury will drop to 5 degrees altitude, but the skies will be darker. Mercury will set at 6:38, and you will lose it before that. Mercury has always been a difficult planet to view from the Earth.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.