The crescent moon meets up with the solar system’s quickest planet, Mercury, within the sky on Saturday (Feb. 18). The closest planet to the sun and the smallest planet within the solar system, named after the Roman god of pace and messenger to the Gods, Mercury, will share the identical right ascension with the 28-day-old moon within the sky, an association known as a “conjunction.”
According to In the Sky (opens in new tab) from New York City the conjunction between Mercury and the moon will turn out to be seen over the horizon to the south when it rises at round 6:01 a.m. EST (1101 GMT). The celestial objects will disappear a number of hours later at round 3:49 p.m. EST (2049 GMT).
During the conjunction, each our bodies will probably be within the Capricornus constellation, the Sea Goat. The moon will probably be fairly vivid with a magnitude of -9.1, whereas Mercury can have a magnitude of -0.2, with the minus prefix indicating significantly vivid celestial objects. The moon will probably be positioned three levels to the south of Mercury.
In the Sky offers the right ascension of each objects as 20h52m50s and the declination of the moon as -22°45′, whereas Mercury has a declination of -19°09′.
The planets is not going to be shut sufficient within the evening sky through the conjunction to be noticed collectively utilizing a telescope, however the conjunction ought to be seen utilizing binoculars or the bare eye.
This visibility comes regardless of Mercury’s diminutive dimension. With a diameter of round 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) the planet is just round 40% bigger than the moon and is simply 1/3 the dimensions of Earth. According to NASA, if Earth was the dimensions of a nickel then Mercury can be round the size of a blueberry (opens in new tab).
Mercury is simply round 36 million miles (58 million kilometers) from the sun, round 40% the gap between Earth and our star. As a results of this proximity, Mercury has a blisteringly scorching floor temperature of round 800 levels Fahrenheit (430 levels Celsius) through the day, dropping as little as -290 levels Fahrenheit (-180 levels Celsius) at evening.
Mercury’s proximity to the sun additionally offers the planet a speedy orbit of simply 88 Earth days, making it the quickest planet within the solar system and which means its moniker referencing the quickest of the Roman pantheon of the gods is becoming.
If you are meaning to view the daytime conjunction of the moon and Mercury, take warning to not look too near the sun and take breaks whereas wanting on the moon, particularly in case your eyes start to sting.
And in case you’re trying to snap photographs of the evening sky, take a look at our information on how to photograph the moon, in addition to our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography.
Editor’s Note: If you snap the conjunction of the moon and Mercury and want to share it with Space.com’s readers, ship your photograph(s), feedback, and your identify and placement to firstname.lastname@example.org.