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. 

Aaron Clevenson
Author: Aaron ClevensonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am the observatory director at the Insperity Observatory in Humble ISD. I am also an adjunct astronomy professor at Lone Star College-Montgomery where I teach solar system astronomy and stars and galaxies astronomy. I am the author of the astronomy textbook, “Astronomy for Mere Mortals.” I am a past president of the North Houston Astronomy Club, and was the chair of Astronomy Day in Southeast Texas in 2015 and 2016. He is an observing program director with The Astronomical League, coordinates their Master Observer Progression Awards, and has authored six of their observing programs.

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