The “elusive” planet will no longer be elusive in the coming days. As a matter of fact, you have the best time to see planet Mercury from February 20th all the way to March 12th – that is if all factors remain constant. According to astronomers, this will be possible since Mercury will be far off from the sun’s glares. The best time to see mercury will be on March 5th. On this date, Mercury will have the greatest elongation from the sun having a bright magnitude of approximately -1.
Why is Mercury so Elusive?
Mercury is the smallest plant in the solar system. Mercury is so elusive that even the great German astronomer Johannes Kepler never saw it although he knew of its existence. As a matter of fact, not so many astronomers have seen this planet. The reason why this planet is elusive is because Mercury is quite close to the sun and, as a result, its brightness is always dimmed by the sun’s rays. With this fact, the best chance of seeing Mercury is when it is furthest from the sun or when there is a solar eclipse. That said, Mercury is best viewed at sunset or sunrise. During sunrise, it is at maximum western elongation. During sunset, Mercury is at maximum eastern elongation.
More on planet Mercury
Mercury has fascinated human beings since time in antiquity. Historical documents show that the first record of Mercury observations dates back to the 4th century B.C. It was this fascination that made the Greek astronomers believe that Mercury was in-fact, two separate objects. One of which was visible during the sunrise while the other part was visible during sunset. They christened the former Apollo while the latter was christened the name Hermes. The modern day name Mercury was derived from the Romans who saw the planet as a swift messenger to the Gods.
Mercury has a similar appearance to the Moon. It has no substantial atmosphere; it is heavily cratered, and has no natural satellites. Mercury complete orbit takes approximately 87.969 days. Together with Venus, Mercury is known as the inner planets since they orbit nearer to the sun compared to other planets in the solar system. Mercury orbit has the highest eccentricity compared to the rest of the planets in the solar system. During the day, temperature reach highs of 427 degrees while during the night, temperatures reach lows of -183 degrees centigrade this makes survival of any species impossible.