Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mercury brightens, Mars fades away

Over the next two weeks, Mercury makes an appearance in our western sky forty minutes after sunset. Last night, it paired with Mars but now it is found much higher above the horizon than the Red Planet. Mercury can be seen with the unaided eye, but Mars requires binoculars. Mercury, at 121 million miles away, is brightening and quickly moving between the sun and the Earth, while Mars, at 214 million miles, is fading as it approaches the far side of the sun. Look to the west about 6:40 p.m. for the planetary pair. 

Such is our view from Earth...

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