Friday, January 9, 2015

"Close Approach " of Venus and Mercury by Contributing Astronomy Editor, Dan Matlaga

The illustration shows the "close approach" of  the Planets Venus and Mercury at 6p.m. January 10th and 11th.  The apparent close planetary images is an illusion.  The planet Venus, on the far side of the Solar System is emerging from behind the Sun while Mercury is on the same side of the solar system as the Earth and will pass between the Sun and Earth on the 29th of January.

 It is the pairing of the fainter Mercury with the brighter Venus that makes the planet Mercury an easier target for backyard observing. This is the first of Venus paring with four celestial objects worth noting.  It was these apparent motions of the Sun, Moon and five visible planets that had a profound effect on human culture. 

Watch this space!