Mercury, overtaking Venus, passes only half a degree north of it as seen by us.
Spatial view of the travels of the three inner planets in July, with sightlines from Earth on July 16. Actually the sightlines are at the beginning (0 hour) of the day by Universal Time. The overtaking happens at the end of the day, 23h UT (which is 7 PM by summer clocks in eastern North America. The planets are exaggerated 400 times in size, the Sun 5. The dashed line is the vernal equinox direction, our customary baseline in the celestial sphere.
Unfortunately this close conjunction can hardly be seen by us, because we have to look for it only 11 degrees to the east of the Sun.
And rhe planets appear even lower over the horizon (for north-hemisphere observers) because of the slope of the ecliptic relative to the Sun at this time of year.
Only in the mind’s eye, therefore, can we see that far in the background are the stars of the wonderful cluster called Praesepe (the “manger”), or more often nowadays the Beehive. Over the next day, Mercury buzzes through the cluster’s northern fringe, then Venus just about exactly through its center.