If you have clear skies one of these next few nights this week try your hand at finding planet Mercury in the sky. Face the western horizon after sunset and look for a faint star in the sun’s fading glow. Binoculars will surely help pick out the pinprick light from this innermost planet. Just below it you can spot the quickly sinking Jupiter as well. Both planets will be a challenge to see because they are so close to the horizon and will be setting soon after the Sun. By the last week in March the pair will be lost in the Sun’s glare so now is the time to get out and observe these neighbouring worlds. BTW – this will be the best apparition for little Mercury for 2011.
EXTRA: For more on Mercury and the ghostly Zodiacal Lights that are now visible in the Northern Hemisphere read my National Geographic Skywatch column this week.
Also check out this cool photo taken by a Montreal-based backyard astronomer who managed to capture both planets in this picture postcard.
Tags: Jupiter, Mercury
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