Archive for January 14, 2016

01/14/2016 – Ephemeris – Mercury joins the rest of the bright morning planets

January 14, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 14th.  The Sun will rise at 8:17.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 9 minutes, setting at 5:26.   The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 11:08 this evening.

After 9:03 this morning all the bright planets, known from antiquity, will be in the morning sky.  To be a morning planet one must be in the sky at sunrise.  And even though Jupiter rises before midnight, it is still in the sky at sunrise.  It will leave the morning sky and enter the evening sky February 6th when it moves in opposition with the Sun and rises at sunset.  Mercury is joining the morning planets by passing inferior conjunction with the Sun this morning, however this is not a good time of year to spot it in the morning.  In the later part of February, we may have a shot at spotting it.  However folks in the southern hemisphere will have better luck at spotting it, because it too is in the southern part of the sky.

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


Mercury approaching conjunction

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) LASCO C3 coronograph animated GIF of a three day period 1/10 to 1/13/2016 image of the Sun. Mercury will enter the picture above center on the left on 1/11. Mercury is not very bright due to the fact that the Sun is illuminating it on the other side. We’re seeing mostly the unlit side. Credit ESA/NASA.