Tuesday, January 15, 2008


For most people in the United States you have a chance at seeing Mercury by the middle of the month around dusk. Look in the southwestern sky, right near the horizon just after the sun sets. Mercury is at about magnitude -0.9 and will get brighter by the Jan. 22 when it will reach its greatest eastern elongation (angle between the sun and Mercury when it is visible after sunset), and a magnitude of -0.5. Sometimes you can see Mercury before the sun rises, this is when it is at its greatest western elongation. Mercury will reach its greatest eastern elongation on May 14th.
For all of you astronomy people there are some new toys out. They are called mySKY by Meade and the SkyScout Personal Planetarium by Celestron. Both are about the same thing they show you what you are looking at in the sky and teach you about them. They are basically GPS instruments that you can use to locate sky objects. All you do is point the instrument at the area of the sky you are interested in, and you not only know what star you are looking at but also the constellation.