Mercury Will Reach Its Highest Point In Sky: Here's How To Spot

On April 9, the tiniest planet of our solar system, Mercury, will reach its highest point in the sky. The position of the planet will depend on your location but it will be highest in the sky as compared to other days, no matter where you live. Let us see how to spot it!

The Orbit Of Mercury

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. Hence, most of the times, it rises and sets with it. Just like Venus, you cannot spot Mercury at night. It will be below the horizon.

It is observable for only a few days each time it reaches greatest separation from the Sun – moments referred to as greatest elongation. These apparitions repeat roughly once every 3–4 months, taking place alternately in the morning and evening skies, depending whether Mercury lies to the east of the Sun or to the west.

The diagram of Mercury's orbit and elongations.

When it lies to the east, it rises and sets a short time after the Sun and is visible in early evening twilight. When it lies to the west of the Sun, it rises and sets a short time before the Sun and is visible shortly before sunrise.

Mercury On Tuesday Morning

When Mercury reaches the highest point, it will be in the constellation of Aquarius. It will shine brightly at mag 0.3 (see concept of mag). The angular size will be 7 arc seconds. Here is how to spot the planet.

The view of Mercury on the morning of April 9. The two dots on the top are Neptune and Venus. (Image: Dominic Ford, In-The-Sky)

The planet will remain high in altitude this week after which it will start sinking and will be lost in the glare of the Sun.

Also Read: Top Astronomy Events For April 2019

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