25 May 2010

Mercury Greatest Western Elongation

Mercury will be at Greatest Western Elongation on 26th Morning. The angular separation of the planet Mercury from the Sun will be 25degrees. In the early morning hours at around 5:00am, with a clear horizon, planet Mercury can be found low in the eastern horizon just before Sun rise. Mercury is in the constellation of Aries and will stay in Aries constellation till the first week of June. From today the angular separation will start to decrease, and will be very difficult to spot the planet by middle of June. If observed through a good magnification telescope, the planet Mercury will show half phase, just as half Moon phase.

Ever wondered why its called Western Elongation when the planet is seen in the eastern horizon?

Well, the answer is very simple. It just depends in which direction the planet is from the Sun. Today, if stood facing the Sun, right hand side will be north, left hand side will be south Mercury is west of the Sun, so it is said to be in Western Elongation. If the planet is in east of Sun it is called Eastern Elongation.

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