View Full Version : wither mercury?
I live in a rural area of Northern Illinois, and have been trying
to catch a glimpse of Mercury for some time. My attempts at
researching when this feat will be possible have only confused
me. I understand the technical difficulties, and so am aware
that an optimum condition is necessary.
Can anyone help me figure out just when I'll have a chance?
The technical problems are the major concerns here - Mercury is never far from the Sun and therefore is difficult to see unless it is near one of its stations. When East of the Sun, Mercury is just above the horizon as it moves to and from its Station Retrograde.
When West of the Sun, Mercury rises before it and again is just over the horizon when it moves to its Station Direct. The best time from an Astronomic/Astrological point of view is when it is at one of its stationary points - probably the Station Retrograde (unless you are an early bird!). You can find the dates for these stations in an ephemeris or on line.
However even then it is best viewed out of town, away from street lighting and with no obstructions to a view across to the Western horizon. You also need fairly clear skies - clouds will obscure it.
I have picked it out on occasion, but only faintly and I've not yet succeeded in getting my rather primitive telescope trained on it. Two technical aids I use are my Astrology program - it gives a hear and now view of the planets, so I can see their relative position in the sky (sighting from Venus or Jupiter can help a lot!). I also use an Astronomy program that came with my telescope - it can be programmed to give the view from my location so again I can use it to sight from other planes or from constellations that are visible.
Hope this helps
Earlier this year my wife and I stood looking up where
Castor and Pollux shone, with Saturn, Mars, and Venus
all gathered around the Moon. Jupiter twinkled on high.
You know, sometimes I'll just take a quick look at the Sun,
knowing Mercury is there, typically invisible to the eye,
and say: I'm looking right bloody at you, ya bugger!
The god of communication remains silent, surely smiling.
Here's a slection of what (what?) I've found:
MERCURY (this looked official)
Retrograde Station..... 2004-8-9 at 8Vi46
Direct Station............ 2004-9-2 at 25Le44
Martin Bulgerin, BioPsciences Institute
and there is the ever faithful:
by Fred Espenak (who helped so much with the Venus transit)
At then moment Mercury is just over 21 degrees East of the Sun (and is the Evening Star) - so you have a fair chance of spotting it just after Sunset, if you can find a suitable place to view from.
The Station Retrograde is on 10 August at 0:33 BST, so there's a month worth of opportunity till then and indeed just afterwards as it moves back towards the Sun, though of course the apparant speed of closure is much faster in this section of Mercury's Retrograde cycles, as both planets are moving towards each other.
By the time the separation is down to 17 degrees ('under the beams') it is very difficult to pick out Mercury and when the separation gets down to about 8 degrees 30 minutes, Mercury becomes 'Combust' and can no longer be seen under any conditions. I always find it odd that these two traitional debilities, which actually correspond to what we can see in the sky (or to be more precise, can't see) are ignored by modern Astrologers - apparantly they never actually spend any time looking at the planets :)
I wonder if there might be a connection between
The Sun and Mercury
the same way there is between
Sun Sign and Ascendant
...kind of like the Chinese companion?
Mercury and the Sun are pretty far apart right now,
close to maximum separation. I'm going to be out
there tonight at sunset, probably looking at pretty
We're pretty sure Mercury made an appearance here
in Boone County Illinois' Flora Township tonight, and
it was delightful for us. Christine and I have now seen
all the traditional planets together. Mercury's tiny light
flickered through the clouds, and we had it on a line
from the Moon, with Jupiter in between, just at dusk.
It played a little game of hide and seek just there.
With luck tomorrow's evening skyline will be clearer.