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Venus and Mercury...


Chasing the inner planets...


We all know Venus... that blazing, high magnitude planet that graces the morning (or evening!) sky several times a year. But, one of the more difficult planets to capture is Mercury!

Its' swift apparitions are a rare treat...

October 28, 2001

6:30 a.m. EST

Caught my first glimpse of Mercury yesterday morning on 10/27! (Time to rent the video camera!! ;)

And this morning, the two planets made a beautiful, and colorful pair against the backdrop of dawn...

October 29, 2001


5:15 a.m. EST

According to my information, this is the closest conjunction of Venus and Mercury for the year 2001!

What a terrific way to start the day...

At the eyepiece...

Both planets fit neatly within the 25mm...

Their average surface brightness make both a difficult target to distinguish their phasic nature. But who cares when you can fit both of them in the same eyepiece!!

(I was quite pleased to see that the natural greenish color of Venus, and the orange tint of Mercury do show up on film!)

November 1, 2001...

5:30 a.m. EST

Suprise, surprise! Guess who has traded places in the sky?

(I sure wasn't expecting THAT to happen! ;)

6:30 a.m.

And accompanied by a beautiful dawn...

What a peaceful picture it makes!

November 3, 2001

6:00 a.m. EST

Falling back toward the Sun! And rising later and later each morning...

It's fascinating to watch the fast changes Mercury makes!

6:15 a.m.

Beautiful dawn... Clear and very cold!

I can't think of a better way to start the day...

Than looking up! ;)

November 4, 2001...

6:00 a.m. EST

Mercury is dropping in elevation each day. We are back to pretty much the same position that the pair displayed on October 29.

Awesome...

November 5, 2001

6:00 a.m. EST

How wonderful that the sky has remained clear! (This kind of luck doesn't happen often enough!)

And still I chase those inner planets...

6:30 a.m.

Still beautiful... and still holding on!

What a rare treat this has been to follow Venus and Mercury this long!

November 6, 2001...

6:15 a.m. EST

The pair are still holding on to the dawn!

Seperation becomes more pronounced each day, and the rise time occur minutes later subsequently. It won't be long before they are gone...

6:30 a.m.

Falling back toward the Sun...

Where they've always belonged!

November 8, 2001

6:15 a.m. EST

Well, it's certainly getting tight now. Mercury has lost so much magnitude, that it is become more and more difficult for the camera to pick it out of the sky!

But, we're still doing it, eh?

6:30 a.m.

Perhaps only one more day remains for this pairing for now.

The dawn comes along quickly to steal the show... and each day Mercury falls lower and lower. But, I will continue to chase the morning and see how long I can keep track of it!

November 9, 2001...

6:15 a.m. EST

WOW! They're still there!! 8-D

I am thoroughly suprised that Mercury is still hanging on! To be sure, the crazy thing is getting harder and harder for me to capture...

But it's still there!

6:30 a.m.

Yeah, yeah... I know it's small and faint, but the tree line you're looking at is over a mile away from where I'm standing! (and the crazy thing is only approximately 3,000 miles in diameter, and .39 AU away from the Sun!) If you stop to think about it... it's amazing the we can even see it at all!)

Will it be there tomorrow? I honestly don't know...

November 10, 2001...

6:10 a.m. EST

Oh my... It's still there!

You can just barely see it coming out of the tree line...

6:20 a.m.

And it is so faint!

What an incredible difference a week has made... We've gone from an easy eye target, to one who needs assistance to see! 8-)

6:30 a.m.

Dawn is creeping in...

And stealing the very last of the show. The more the sky brightens... the harder and harder it becomes for the camera to make out Mercury.

(hey... I lost it visually several minutes ago!)

Parting shot...

And at last I draw the camera back... So you may look at the tree line that has been the focus of these reports. Just beneath the lower branch of the walnut tree is barely perceptible Venus...

My time with the inner planets is over for now. I shall still look for Mercury come tomorrow... For it is my way. And if it's not there? Then I'll look again the next... ;)

From the Backyard in Ohio...

Wishing you sunny days and clear nights...

~T

And...

"Lucy in the sky... with diamonds..."




~the astronomer