Mercury on April the First

This is the best showing Mercury can make for you this evening:

Under the ground, I’m sorry to say.  Mercury is today at one of its extremes of eastern elongation (not a very great one, 19° frin the Sun), but it is out at a disappointingly low angle to the horizon.

April Fool.  That’s the view from the southern hemisphere (actually, from Buenos Aires, latitude 35° south).  This jester of a planet most often favors the Earth’s southern hemisphere with better views (for the geometrical reasons explained in our “Mercury” page to be found under the “Astronomical Calendar 2017” link above), but this is one of the less common occasions when it’s the north hemisphere that is favored.

At the time and place of this picture, Mercury is vertically above the Sun and 9° above the horizon.

In fact this is (for northern latitudes) the best opportunity of the year for seeing Mercury, as shown and explained by another illustration in that “Mercury” page.


One thought on “Mercury on April the First”

  1. Ha! You got me. Not only is Mercury below the horizon, the ecliptic and equator are slanting the wrong way!

    I’ve been enjoying seeing Mercury from my front steps for the past week, very bright and conveniently above the church across the street about a half hour after sunset. Usually I need to hike up Bernal Hill to see Mercury.

    Next Sunday Mercury will play another April Fool’s joke on us, turning retrograde for three weeks.

Write a comment