Home > Concepts, Ephemeris Program > 02/26/2019 – Ephemeris – Mercury at greatest eastern elongation from the Sun tonight

02/26/2019 – Ephemeris – Mercury at greatest eastern elongation from the Sun tonight

February 26, 2019

Ephemeris for Tuesday, February 26th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours even, setting at 6:26, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:24. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 2:49 tomorrow morning.

This evening the planet Mercury is at its greatest distance from the Sun to the east by an angle of 18 degrees. It’s called greatest eastern elongation from the Sun. Mercury has a very elliptical orbit of the Sun, and right now it’s near its closest to the Sun called perihelion, of 28.6 million miles (46.1 million km). In late winter and spring the ecliptic, the path in the sky that the planets appear near, meets the horizon at a steep angle near sunset, which allows us to see planets near and east of the Sun more easily. The same is true for the planets west of the Sun in the morning in the fall. Southern hemisphere observers see Mercury best when its is at aphelion, farthest from the Sun, 66 percent farther away.

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

Addendum

Northern hemisphere elongation of Mercury in the spring.

Looking at Mercury at greatest eastern elongation tonight February 26, 2019 from Northern Michigan displaying its orbit with a transparent horizon at sunset. Notice how lopsided the orbit appears, extending farther below the horizon (green line) than above. The yellow line is the ecliptic. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The next greatest elongation of Mercury is the western elongation on April 11, 2019. Here we are looking at it from the southern hemisphere, where it’s autumn displaying its orbit with a transparent horizon at sunrise. Notice how lopsided the orbit appears, extending farther above the horizon (green line) than below. The yellow line is the ecliptic. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Note the same is true for both northern and southern hemispheres:

Late winter and spring – planets near and east of the Sun are seen more easily after sunset.

Late summer and autumn – planets near and west of the Sun are seen more easily before sunrise.

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