Catch any northern lights last night? It wasn’t easy. A low glow and a few faint rays appeared in the northern sky early just after the end of evening twilight. I also saw some glow early this morning just before the start of dawn. Forecasts still call for a G1 or minor geomagnetic storm (Kp=5) this early evening before activity drops off. Thank you, coronal hole, for sponsoring these nightly treats!
Yesterday, you may have spotted the return of the space station while out waiting for aurora. Tonight, it’ll swing by again, and you’ll have a great opportunity to catch the planet Mercury during its best evening appearance of the year for northern hemisphere skywatchers. The planet looks like a brightish star shining all by itself about 10° high or one fist above the western horizon 40-45 minutes after sunset.
What makes tonight special is that the beautiful-in-its-own-right moon, a skinny 2-day-old crescent, will shine one fist or 10° to the left of the planet. How convenient is that? Find the moon, find Mercury. So easy.
Mercury will remain nicely placed for viewing for another week and a half before fading and dropping back toward the sun. The planet is that friend you wish would stay longer but unfortunately has business to attend to. The moon climbs higher each night, the crescent thickens, transforms to half — a cycle that never tires the eyes.