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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Venus and Mercury at sunset, January 13, 2015

While the big news for amateur astronomers right now is the visit from Comet Lovejoy, other stuff is going on on the heavens. Venus and Jupiter are currently putting in a beautiful appearance after sunset. I have seen Mercury before, but it's nice to have something like this to remove any doubts about what you're seeing.

I saw Venus and Mercury together late Saturday afternoon. They were technically at appulse, the point where they appear closest together in the sky. Today was another clear day, so I was hopeful that I would get a clear view. I knew I would be near Montage Mountain in Moosic tonight at sunset, so I packed my camera and tripod to see if I might get a good shot of the pair.

I did.




That's Venus on the left and Mercury on the right. If Mercury looks lopsided , it's because it is. Here's a map of the apparent disk of Mercury at approximately the time the photo was taken, according to http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/diskmap.php .


Venus and Mercury will continue to put in appearances after sunset for a while. Go out and see them if you can!

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