Planets And Moon Serve Up Sparkling Sights At Dawn

If you’re out at dawn — and it’s not too hard to be with December’s late sunrises — face east to watch the celestial traffic this week. Tomorrow morning (Dec. 3), the crescent moon will stand just 4.5° above the planet Venus, which is currently at “greatest brilliancy” and shining at magnitude –4.9. These two…
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BepiColombo Mission To Mercury Launches Tonight

Wanna watch a rocket launch to Mercury? It happens tonight when the joint European-Japanese BepiColombo mission blasts off at 8:45 p.m. (Central Time) from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Live transmission starts a half-hour before at 8:15 p.m. See it happen before your eyes here. This  Europe’s first mission to Mercury and comes on the heels of…
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A Hot Planet And An Old Moon Chase The Horizon At Dawn

Mercury pops in and out view for only a few weeks at a time before disappearing in the solar glare. Its appearances are brief compared to the other planets because it orbits close to the sun. From mid-northern latitudes the fleet planet is always caught up in the glow of dusk or dawn and never…
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Aldebaran Sails On / Crescent Moon Eyes Mercury And Venus Next

Mostly clear skies this morning made for a wonderful last occultation of Aldebaran till 2033. I stood along the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth and contemplated for a moment what that year might look like should I be fortunate enough to live so long. When the image of a man steadying himself with a…
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Mercury Sneaks Beneath Venus As July Opens

When we weren’t looking, Mercury got its foot in the door. Venus has captured our attention these months, shining like a candle in the west at dusk.  But if you now look about 15° or a fist-and-a-half below and right of the brilliant planet you’ll see another fainter “star.” That’s Mercury. Although it musters a…
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