Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Forget the worm...

At the moment, the early bird gets the inner solar system.

Here's a picture of Earth in the foreground (5 km), Mercury in the middle distance (130,000,000 km) and Venus in the background (220,000,000 km).

The exposure is too short for any stars to show up, but they were certainly out- dawn was still 20 minutes away, sunrise an hour. Mercury is currently brighter than both Mars and Saturn, which means that the three brightest planets are all visible in the early morning sky.

Mercury can be quite difficult to spot, as it moves quickly and is usually washed out in the glare of the sun. But for the next few weeks it will be high in the sky and close to Venus, so anyone with limited astronomical skills (like me) should be able to find it without too much trouble.


Unknown said...

thanks for the reminder about mercury and venus being close tomorrow morning!

C W Magee said...

No worries. Next up is March 6, when the cresent moon joins them. For folks in the Western Pacific, it will actually occult Venus, while for those Floating around the SE Pacific, Mercury will disappear.