Mercury and Venus

June 16, 2007


Provided and copyright by: Domenico Licchelli, physicist
Summary authors & editors: Domenico Licchelli, Jim Foster

While Venus can rise or set more than three hours before or after the Sun and is usually an easy target for the viewer looking at either the western (evening) or eastern (morning) horizon, Mercury lies too close to the Sun to readily detect. The Sun's closest companion can usually only be seen with the naked eye when Mercury is near its greatest elongation -- furthest from the Sun from our perspective. The photo above was captured just after sunset above Lecce, Italy on January 5, 2007. Venus beams brilliantly at upper left, while the ever elusive Mercury can be found about mid way between Venus and the end of the railing. Click on image for larger view. The next best opportunity to view Mercury (next elongation) occurs on July 20.

Photo details: Canon Powershot A620, taken at 16:53 UT, 1 second exposure, f/3.5, 50 ASA.

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