Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have been known since antiquity. Mercury is often overlooked. It never strays far from the sun and is small and faint. Now is a great time to find it and check it off the list. Mercury will be at greatest elongation on Oct. 1. Greatest elongation is that time when an inner planet (Mercury and Venus) is the furthest from the sun from Earth’s perspective. This time, Mercury will be 25.8 degrees away. To see Mercury, shortly after sunset, look low in the western sky. It will appear as a faint point of light. There are no stars bright enough to compete with Mercury.
We are in the process of reopening the observatory. We plan for November to be our grand reopening, but we will only be able to have a limited number of visitors and reservations and face masks will be required.