N.J. Night Sky: Mercury joins Venus

N.J. Night Sky: Mercury joins Venus

Venus has stood alone within the western sky through the previous few weeks. As we head into July, Venus will likely be joined by Mercury.

The orbits of each Venus and Mercury lie contained in the Earth’s orbit. Traveling on the “inside tracks” of the photo voltaic system, they’ve a a lot shorter yr. Venus completes one orbit in 225 days whereas Mercury does so in solely 88 days.

Venus and Mercury will seem collectively within the western sky after sundown through the subsequent couple of weeks. Mercury will likely be troublesome to identify because of its low altitude. 

To see Venus, merely face west round 9:30 p.m. As Venus orbits the solar, it seems to vary form much like the best way Earth’s moon does. If you’ve gotten a telescope, you may simply see the second planet’s part. It now seems related in form to a gibbous moon.

Once you’ve gotten discovered Venus, search for Mercury beneath and to the precise. Mercury is just not as vivid as Venus and far decrease within the sky. At 9:30 p.m., it’s only some levels above the western horizon. A pair of binoculars will enable you discover it. IN a telescope Mercury may also show a gibbous part.

First high-resolution picture of Mercury transmitted by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft in 2008. 

During the following two weeks, the view of Mercury will enhance barely because it will get larger within the sky. The greatest time to view it’ll come on July 11 when the planet is at its farthest angular distance from the solar.

Kevin D. Conod is the planetarium supervisor and astronomer on the Newark Museum’s Dreyfuss Planetarium. For updates on the evening sky, name the Newark Skyline at (973) 596-6529.

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