2018, March 15: Venus and Mercury,The Early Show, Greatest Elongation


Brilliant Venus and Mercury shine during twilight this evening. Mercury is at its greatest angular separation from the sun (greatest elongation).  This evening Mercury is 4 degrees from Venus.  Mercury begins to appear lower in the sky each night.  On March 18, the waxing crescent moon joins the planetary pair.

This one of the best views we ever see of Mercury.  It almost always sets before the end of the evening twilight or rises after twilight begins.  A spring evening appearance is the best time to see the planet as we have a very favorable view of the solar system in the west this time of year.  Other times of the year, Mercury hides in evening twilight and sets early after sunset.  Watch the planetary display in the west as Mercury changes its position compared to Venus quite rapidly during the next several days.

 

The articles that follow provide details about the planets visible without optical assistance (binoculars or telescope):

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