Astro photography

Mercury and a Young Moon

Mercury and a Young Moon, May 6, 2008. Although very similar in size and appearance, Mercury is about 300 times farther away than the Moon, and it's in a close orbit around the Sun. Mercury is usually seen in either the dusk or dawn skies, but often goes unnoticed in the red glow of the sky. It was easy to find on this evening, being just two degrees to the lower left of a lovely young Moon. The star Phi Tauri is visible to the upper right of the Moon.

The Moon was just one day past new, and it shows a characteristic Earthshine — sunlight reflecting off of the daylight side of the Earth is bright enough to light the Moon's shadow regions. Only about three and a half percent of the Moon's directly sunlit side was visible on this evening.

A year earlier almost to the day, the same pairing of Moon and Mercury was seen in our evening sky.

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Steve Irvine
R.R. # 2
Wiarton, Ontario
Canada N0H 2T0
(519) 534 2175