Mercury’s back

…well, quite a few of the planets are. Venus pops over the horizon as the Sun sets, Mars watches from almost directly overhead as it gets dark, Saturn you might have spotted just below the Moon last night, Jupiter will be rising in the early morning. Just the invisible to the naked eye two now melting away behind the Sun.

But Mercury is rather harder to spot than the other relatively bright naked eye planets. It hugs the Sun tightly and only pops its head a short way over the horizon. As with Venus, it undergoes phases like the Moon, but it is tiny. It is easiest to spot the elusive closest rock to the Sun when it is close to something else in the sky – like the brightest planet shining at sunset, Venus, perhaps.

The pair will be remaining close until the tenth of April, closest approach on the 3rd/4th, so catch this planet and add it to a list of things seen, photographed or sketched.

While you’re at it, if you have suitable filters or can project the image of the Sun safely onto some card, there’s a good sunspot or two to see as well. 1057 is quite loud in radio bursts too.

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