Mercury And The Sliver Moon Meet Tomorrow At Dawn

The thin moon and Mercury tomorrow morning about 30 minutes before sunrise. When you search for it, point your binoculars at the moon and then slide to the lower left to find the planet. Once you know exactly where to look, lower the binoculars and try to see it with your eyes alone. Stellarium

Not one day after Venus and the moon paired up so beautifully, Mercury gets a visit from an skinnier crescent moon tomorrow morning Feb. 27. Seeing the two will take a little more effort than this morning’s duo because they’ll be noticeably lower in the east-southeastern sky, and Mercury’s not nearly as bright as Venus. Still, if you have a clear view in that direction, it’s worth looking if only to see the delicate appearance of the moon.

All John Chumack had was a point and shoot camera when he grabbed this photo of the moon and Venus in a break in the clouds over the campus of the University of Dayton this morning. Credit: John Chumack

Once you’ve found the crescent, glide your gaze a few degrees to its lower left to find the innermost planet Mercury. The planet shines at first magnitude – reasonably bright – but has to fight bright twilight. That’s why binoculars are recommended to get started.

A sampling of craters named after artists and writers on the planet Mercury. Credit: NASA

One of the things I enjoy about Mercury is the naming system for its craters. A quick glance across a map of the planet reveals the names of deceased musicians, artists and writers from around the world. It makes me smile to see some of my favorites composers like Aaron Copland and Bela Bartok and French photographer Eugene Atget memorialized by impacts. Even Walt Disney’s up there.

Mercury brightens as March opens and also moves a little farther up and away from the sun, making it a bit easier to see, but you’ll have to go on it on your own then with no moon to guide the way.

2 Responses

  1. Edward M. Boll

    Getting home at 3:25 in the morning, I have not been seeing Venus or Mercury, but Jupiter is still pretty under the Gemini twins.Saturday morning, I have to wake up at 6 AM. Then I may see the early morning planets. Supposed to snow that day.

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