March 24, 2023


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Mercury elongation – what is this phenomenon?

Mercury will soon be elongated. During this time, you will be able to see this planet in the sky, which is not an everyday sight. In addition to Mercury, it will be possible to observe four other planets. What is elongation, and when and where do we see this phenomenon?

What is the elongation of mercury?

In astronomy, elongation is also called celestial aberration or eccentricity. It is the angle between the sun and a particular planet on the celestial sphere. The maximum elongation of Mercury as the lower planet (behind the Sun) is 29 degrees. When the moon is at its maximum elongation of 180 degrees, we see a full moon in the sky. During this phenomenon, all celestial bodies are visible from the Earth, and what is more, they are the brightest, so they can be easily observed.

During Mercury’s elongation, the planet is the brightest observable celestial body in the sky. Mercury’s elongation in June will be 21 degrees.

Where and when can you see Mercury’s elongation

Mercury’s closest elongation It can be seen in the sky on June 16 (Thursday). This would be called western elongation, meaning the planet would be 15 degrees west of the sun.

What is the best time to watch the elongation in the sky? It is best to do this a little before or shortly after sunrise. This is the time when Mercury will be the most visible planet in the sky. For your convenience, sunrise on June 16 will be at 4:14 AM and sunset at 8:59 PM. Sunrise on Mercury will be at 3:21 am and set at 6:41 pm. During these hours it is worth looking for planets in the sky.

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This phenomenon is not so rare, because the following elongations can be observed in August, October and December of this year.

What planets can be seen during Mercury’s elongation?

In addition to Mercury, you will also be able to observe the elongation of Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and Mars. They are the brightest stars in the sky and can be seen on most days of the year.

Main image source: Lindsey Binkley / Getty Images