Mercury Viewing, 2020

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Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Mercury Viewing, 2020

Post by Christopher K. »

There are some wonderful elongations of Mercury in the 2020 evening skies! During the dates and times below, HRPO personnel will be at the Burbank Soccer Complex to view Mercury...
*Monday 10 February, 5:30pm to 7pm CST (in Aquarius)
*Wednesday 3 June, 8pm to 9:30pm CDT (in Gemini)
*Thursday 1 October, 6pm to 7:30pm CDT (in Virgo)

More information:
http://hrpo.lsu.edu/programs/planet_times.html

Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Mercury Viewing, 2020

Post by Christopher K. »

During an elongation Mercury is as far removed in the sky from the Sun as it can get; these elongations are prime times to view the elusive planet that zips around the Sun in only eighty-eight Earth days. During an elongation phase, the planet is half-illuminated in a telescope.

From 5:30pm to 7pm on Monday 10 February, HRPO personnel will be at the Burbank Soccer Complex to watch Mercury set in the constellation Aquarius. Venus will also be available, and the International Space Station passes over beginning at 6:40pm. Binoculars are strongly recommended.

Kids who are signed up for the 15 February Science Academy (which focuses on Mercury) will receive three extra door prize tickets for that SA session if they view Mercury from Burbank.

More information:
http://hrpo.lsu.edu/programs/mercury_elongation.html

Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Mercury Viewing, 2020

Post by Christopher K. »

Due to the high rain chance and cloud cover, the Mercurian Elongation viewing at the Burbank Soccer Complex will not take place. Please join the Baton Rouge Astronomical Society at 7:15pm at the Highland Road Park Observatory for the club's monthly meeting; one need not be a member to attend.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Mercury Viewing, 2020

Post by Christopher K. »

On Monday the 9th at about 3am CDT, Mercury will be stationary. A good view of Mercury is lacking at least through the 25th. It will be getting brighter slightly in the next two weeks, but not removed enough from the Sun.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Mercury Viewing, 2020

Post by Christopher K. »

On Thursday the 21st at 8:20pm CDT, look to the west-northwest about twelve degrees up to see a beautiful sight--the two closest planets to the Sun in a tight conjunction of a little over a degree.

Pertinent graphic:
https://skyandtelescope.org/wp-content/ ... ay21ev.jpg

Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Mercury Viewing, 2020

Post by Christopher K. »

Mercury is visible for a few minutes every morning (rising a little north of east) until about 9 August.

Did you know Mercury has a sodium tail? Discovered in 2001, it has been imaged a number of times since then.

8 July 2020 APOD: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200708.html

Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Mercury Viewing, 2020

Post by Christopher K. »

HRPO personnel will be at the Burbank Soccer Complex from 6:30pm to 8pm this evening to view the last evening elongation of Mercury for 2020.

Below is the NOAA forecast for that time...
precipitation potential, 0%
sky cover, 0%
relative humidity, 51%
temperature, 27˚C
surface wind, N 11 km/h

Danko's Clear Dark Sky states that during HRPO's viewing time the transparency rating will be "above average" (4 out of 5) and the seeing rating will be "poor" (2 out of 5).

The 1 October 2020 rating is...
EXCELLENT
VERY GOOD
GOOD
FAIR
POOR
BAD

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