Did you know that Mercury is visible with the naked eye? It is easy to see it this month in the early evening sky.
Find a place with a clear view to the western horizon. Mercury will appear very low to the horizon so the clearer your view to the west, the better.
The brightest object you’ll see directly above the western horizon is the crescent Moon. The Moon, bright star, Spica and Mercury form a neat triangle in the evening sky. Spica appears above and to the left of the Moon. Mercury is the brighter star-like object directly below Spica.
When to look: 6:45pm, 19th September
Which direction to look: West
Over the next few days, Mercury will appear to move closer and closer to the star, Spica. On the 22nd, they are at their closest. A special view indeed!
The image above features the successful launch of the BepiColombo mission to Mercury on 20th October 2018. This is a joint project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. The spacecraft won’t reach Mercury until December 2025.
On board are two scientific orbiters including ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter which will map Mercury, and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter which will study the magnetosphere.
Before it reaches Mercury, there are two planned close passes by Venus. The first is coming up next month on 20th October. BepiColombo will use two close passes by Venus to help it get into an orbital path so it can catch up with Mercury. This little planet orbits the Sun every 88 days! Read more here…
Want More Stargazing Tips?
There’s always something interesting happening in the night sky and country WA is the best place to catch all the action!