Mercury and Young Moon

April 30, 2010


Photographer: David K. Lynch; Dave's Webpage
Summary Author: David K. Lynch; Jim Foster

While Mercury may on occasion be brighter than any star, it’s one of the most elusive naked eye planets. It’s always in the solar glare and never really visible during the day or at night, only during deep twilight. Supposedly, Copernicus never saw Mercury; though some believe that this is unlikely. The photo above was taken from Topanga, California on April 15, 2010, about a week after Mercury's greatest elongation from the Sun (19 degrees). A young crescent Moon with its mischievous grin dominates this scene; doing it’s best to prevent little old Mercury from getting its due. Note the earthshine or ash light is simply sunlight reflected from the Earth and onto the dark side of the Moon, then reflected again to the earthbound observer. The old fashioned microwave TV receiver adds an eerie feeling to the picture; however, it’s not actually pointed at Mercury.